“The man who knows how will always be the student, but the man who knows why will continue to be the instructor. “
-Ed Parker (founder of American Kenpo Karate)
Not only knowing why… but understanding why… experiencing the ‘why’ as part of the background of practice and/or life is what principles of study are all about.
Knowing one technique really well (or just a few techniques)… Will often allow you to go very far very fast in many skills (this is common in martial arts, where people practice 3 or 4 techniques consistently and then dominate tournaments and/or competitions). However, the true virtuoso’s… the geniuses… the real masters… are always the ones who gain such a deep understanding of the practice of the principles that there is little need to focus on the individual techniques.
With deep understanding of principles, the individual techniques handle themselves!
So how do we begin to experience deeper understanding of principles?
Take some time to just focus on and honor the principles… then when you practice, notice how you are embodying the principles… begin to let the principles dictate your practice.
Daily Meditation – Principles
(right click and select ‘save target as’ or ‘save link as’)
Formal Practice: Start with a few deep breaths and focus in on one of the important principles of meditation or any other practice which you wish to engage in. The principles are the broader understandings which give birth to many of the ‘situation specific’ concepts and/or techniques. Enjoy the principle. Become it. Let go of any perceived separation between ‘yourself’ and ‘it’. Take a deep breath and notice any ways the principle might apply to other disciplines or areas of life as well!
Informal Practice: Begin to recognize how you can understand this principle a little bit deeper through contemplation in daily life. If you can bring it into your moment by moment experience of life… do so. Be sure to focus on at least one principle during each lesson for your chosen discipline. Let that principle dictate the lesson. Begin to be aware of your application of principles throughout your daily life!
It comes back to the ‘why’ and the ‘how’…
The ‘how to’ is definitely useful. It gives you a structure to follow. Ultimately, though, you want to understand the ‘why’… (and not just intellectually… deeper than that) the broader principles that will eventually allow you to craft your own ‘how-to’ structures appropriately for whatever situations arise (with no thought required )!