The morning sun is beating down on the concrete slabs that make up our back deck. The sweat dripping from my forehead compels me to set up a beach umbrella so I don’t completely melt. I am in the process of re-sealing the expansion joints between sections because I noticed the deck was shifting a bit. Water penetrated the joints and winter freeze produced frost heave, uplifting portions of the deck and creating some cracks. I did not understand expansion joints needed care until researching some YouTube videos. There always seems to be something in need of repair or maintenance on a home.
This is a great metaphor for our spiritual progress. Although we may have developed a consistent practice that seems to help us deal with the vagaries of our mind, it is helpful to tweak the process once in awhile lest we become too passive and mechanical. If we are oblivious to this laziness, we might develop cracks. Left without repair, the problem only gets worse.
One indicator our practice has become weak is in the way we deal with emotions. How easily are we stirred up? In this time of pandemic and social discord, we might fall into old habits and be in need of a tuneup. This is a good time to revitalize by learning another aspect of practice. Maybe we memorize a few lines of a text we find beneficial or learn another mantra and visualization. Refreshing our practice can reinvigorate our spiritual development and help us stay inspired.
Another possibility to reengage our practice is to accomplish a familiar mantra once more. Aspire to do 100,000 repetitions. It is amazing how the vibration of this many iterations can make the exercise new again. Regular maintenance of our daily practice helps to sustain a relaxed mind and provides energy we can use to be of benefit to others. This is why great masters always seem to be practicing. Even if it ain’t broke, it still needs care.