The Master’s Journey

10 Jul

Mastering meditation is like mastering any other skill or sport. And this is what the journey looks like (from ‘Mastery’ by George Leonard)


                 The Mastery Curve


Master's Curve
There’s really no way around it. Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it. The curve above is necessarily idealized. In the actual learning experience, progress is less regular; the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way. But the general progression is almost always the same. To take the
master’s journey, you have to practice diligently,striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so—and this is the inexorable fact of the journey—you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practising even when you seem to be getting nowhere.


2 Responses to “The Master’s Journey”

  1. johnhaspel July 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Great Post. What I have found with myself and my students is the “plateau” is a time when new understandings are being integrated. It is a time for great gentleness with your self and your practice.

    John Haspel


    • gurusoul July 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      Absolutely! Here’s something from Ajahn Brahm on the same theme: “My first meditation teacher told me something that at the time sounded quite strange. He said that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. He was right. All those meditations that you call bad or frustrating are where you do the hard work for your “wages.” It’s like a person who on Monday works all day but gets no money at the end of the day.“What am I doing this for?” he thinks. He works all day Tuesday and still gets nothing. Another bad day. All day Wednesday and Thursday he works,and still nothing to show for it.Four bad days in a row. Then along comes Friday. He does exactly the same work as before, and at the end of the day the boss gives him his wages.Wow! Why can’t every day be a payday? Why can’t every meditation be a payday? Do you understand the simile? During the difficult meditations you build up your credit, the reason for your success. In the hard meditations you build up your strength, which creates the momentum for peace. Then when there is enough credit, the mind goes into a good meditation, and it is a payday. But you must remember that it was in the so-called bad meditations that most of the work was done.”


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