doing my best

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doing my best

Postby alisun » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:27 pm

This may seem like a silly question: How do I know if I am doing my best?
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Re: doing my best

Postby Jikan » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:46 pm

Not a silly question.

The best way to find out is to put yourself in a situation in which you are challenged. Do you rise to the moment, or not? This will show you directly where your threshholds are, where you limitations are, and so on. As you work with your limitations, you find that your best gets better: your capacity for practice on and off the cushion improves.
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Re: doing my best

Postby alisun » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:56 pm

Appreciate the thoughtful reply. Thank you.
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Re: doing my best

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:28 am

If you find yourself changing and thinking and acting in accord with the Dharma more and more.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: doing my best

Postby futerko » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:11 am

Only you can really answer that question.

It brings to mind my own past - I knew from an early age that I didn't want to pursue the conventional route of carreer, family, mortgage, 1.8 dogs, 2.4 cars, etc. but I didn't really have the knowledge to bring my own path clearly into focus. Everything I did, couched in conventional terms as "self-development" or "emotional growth" would meet with the same response from others - Where is the product? Where is it leading to? How much money are you going to make from doing that? - and it was only in the past 5 years or so that I have actually started to understand why those questions are irrelevant to me, rather than just having a vague feeling that it just felt wrong, but at the same time giving credence to those voices that said I was "letting the side down" and failing to contribute to society (in terms of economics, productivity, consumer values, etc.).
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: doing my best

Postby alisun » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:29 am

It seems like there is often a caveat. For instance, today I did my best considering that I've a cold. But if I felt 100%, then it wouldn't be my best effort.
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Re: doing my best

Postby uan » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:44 am

alisun wrote:This may seem like a silly question: How do I know if I am doing my best?



we are always doing our best. What "best" means changes over time as our capacity increases (or decreases). There's a difference between doing our best, and "being" the best, or even giving 100% effort 100% of the time (which is impossible). What's important is not trying to be doing our "best", but just staying consistent at putting in whatever effort we can.

An example. Let's say you decide to run for exercise and to lose weight. At first you might only be able to walk at a pace of 20 minutes a mile for a couple of miles twice a week. But if you stick with it, over time, let's say in a year or so, with the same effort, you can now jog at 10 minutes a mile for 4 miles, 4 times a week. You've doubled everything with the same relative effort as when you started. In fact it was probably harder when you first started.

The point is, there's not a competition. Best is a meaningless concept. Be who you are, in the moment. It like that scene in Apollo 13 when they fixed the air filter and they are waiting to see if it works and Tom Hanks says "Just breathe normal fellas."



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Re: doing my best

Postby alisun » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:55 am

"We are always doing our best". I think that is true- We are always doing our best based on our circumstances and awareness. And yet there are times where I know I can work harder.
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Re: doing my best

Postby uan » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:11 am

alisun wrote:"We are always doing our best". I think that is true- We are always doing our best based on our circumstances and awareness. And yet there are times where I know I can work harder.


I totally understand what you are saying and I do that at times as well. One problem with thinking we can or should work harder is that if we don't we then hang on to feelings of disappointment or failure. We end up creating a lot more obstacles when what we are trying to accomplish is removing them. Not to mention what does "work harder" mean? Sit harder in meditation? Breathe harder? Let go of all thoughts as the appear harder? :)

I was actually thinking about this earlier this evening as I was taking a yoga class. I'm not the most limber or petite person in the world, so I was trying just to be in the moment, focusing on my breathing, which is quite difficult when sweat is pouring down your face and breathing is fast and exerted while trying to balance on one leg and at the same time leaning forward into a split and trying not to fall over :lol: .
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Re: doing my best

Postby Ayu » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:48 am

"Stop doing - and it will be done."

(From Zen. I forgot the author.)
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: doing my best

Postby muni » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:46 am

Ayu wrote:"Stop doing - and it will be done."

(From Zen. I forgot the author.)


:good:

Doing nothing: very difficult. Wandering, seeking..........
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Re: doing my best

Postby futerko » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:51 pm

Ayu wrote:"Stop doing - and it will be done."

(From Zen. I forgot the author.)
With the added bonus that if you fail then you might accidentally achieve something! :tongue:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: doing my best

Postby monktastic » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:03 pm

Ayu wrote:"Stop doing - and it will be done."

(From Zen. I forgot the author.)


"Do nothing, and everything is done." This is the principle of Wu Wei, from the Tao Te Ching.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: doing my best

Postby alisun » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:46 pm

uan wrote:
alisun wrote:"We are always doing our best". I think that is true- We are always doing our best based on our circumstances and awareness. And yet there are times where I know I can work harder.


I totally understand what you are saying and I do that at times as well. One problem with thinking we can or should work harder is that if we don't we then hang on to feelings of disappointment or failure. We end up creating a lot more obstacles when what we are trying to accomplish is removing them. Not to mention what does "work harder" mean? Sit harder in meditation? Breathe harder? Let go of all thoughts as the appear harder? :)

I was actually thinking about this earlier this evening as I was taking a yoga class. I'm not the most limber or petite person in the world, so I was trying just to be in the moment, focusing on my breathing, which is quite difficult when sweat is pouring down your face and breathing is fast and exerted while trying to balance on one leg and at the same time leaning forward into a split and trying not to fall over :lol: .


Thanks. I think you are getting closer to the heart of my question, which I didn't articulate that well. Doing one's best doesn't necessarily mean using 100% of one's energy all of the time. So if we are not using 100% of our effort, how do we know if we are doing our best? I think I already know the answer. By knowing myself, via sitting practice, I will get better at being aware of when I am doing my best and when I am not. Knowing is an art.
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Re: doing my best

Postby Ayu » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:20 pm

alisun wrote:... Knowing is an art.

Yes.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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