…Through the virtue of training, Enlighten both body and soul — Morihei Sensei

On Missing Training Days

This week we had a birthday celebration, one day for family, one day for friends, and two days on the road for college visits.  The resultant effect:   I missed two whole days of training, and had three highly modified days.  Missed training days are extremely bothersome to me.  I obsess over how to adjust my schedule, and how to make up for the losses.   Truthfully, I probably needed an unload week.

All of which underscored the extent of my attachment to training and things training-related  (e.g., logs, nutrition protocols, gear improvements, results).  If Training is a Practice (as it is for me), then one very insidious, and deceptive attachment is to the Training itself.

Coaches generally advise viewing missed training days as needed recovery.  I try to get in every session I can, knowing I will miss some, and then those become recovery days, instead of lost progress.  But that is all very intellectual.   On a gut level, the missed days still feel like loss.

This feeling of loss gives us an opportunity to deepen our practice by reflecting on the nature of our attachment to training.  If Training is a Practice, then it is not the goal.  Only the goal is the goal.  (Goals and Zen have their own ironic relationship.)  Practice is a vehicle we use along the Road.  Or as Suzuki mentions in Beginners Mind, it is the boat we use to cross a stream that crosses the Way.  In this light Practice is further removed–not even the Road to the Goal.

I have no answer here, nor any real conclusions.  Only that it is an interesting phenomenon.  An experience I am thankful for, as it helps peel back another layer, another curtain between me and Reality.

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— Jalal

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