How Do You Measure Progress?

How Do You Measure Progress?

A couple of years ago, feeling a bit disillusioned by the the evolution of yoga in its popular context, I realized I needed to make a shift in my professional life. I felt confined by the parameters of teaching yoga in a classroom setting, to an increasingly fitness oriented audience and unable to share the depth of the teachings I find so valuable in such a confined structure. I decided to create a platform to share the most important threads of my journey, and to make these available to people in a variety of creative ways. It is a work in progress.

Tools foR evolution has come a long way since its birth in 2012.

It’s funny, I didn’t even realize that until I wrote it. Though I have much to show for my efforts, I still see much potential for growth. Sometimes I can be a bit impatient, expecting things to manifest instantly, and feeling one step behind the game when they don’t. It’s exciting to have so many interests and the passion to share them, but not that helpful to self flagellate when things don’t go as quickly or smoothly as you hoped. It’s important to stop and appreciate how far we have come, even if it’s not quite where we want to be. Here were some of the highlights for 2013:

There is a line we chant in the Buddhist world that goes:

Grant your blessings so that Dharma [the truth] may progress along the path.

It occurs to me to ask, what does progress mean? Progress is such a relative phenomenon, measurable only against some random subjective viewpoint. I’m starting to question the whole idea of progress in the first place. Where, exactly, do we think we are headed?

My intent in creating Tools foR evolution is to help people bring out the best in themselves through these principles of contemplative practice and creative expression. Working from the physical body to refine subtle energies helps settle the mind. Once the mind is settled you can focus on identifying how your thinking patterns affect your relationships and create your world. You may or may not “get somewhere.” You may already be exactly where you are meant to be. In fact, I’m pretty sure you are.

When you align body, speech and mind with your inner truth, guidance magically appears to show you your path. I offer support for you to create that alignment, so you can hear the voice of your own mystical guide.

Because this stuff is so important to me, I’ve created an offering for you. I’m creating ways to share the power of these gifts of contemplative practice. Here is my Christmas gift to you.

Progress is purely a mental construct, a qualitative judgement based on comparing the present moment to another moment in the past. According to Buddhist (and other) philosophies, the past does not exist. So, from that, we  might deduce that no progress is possible or even necessary, and that the moment is perfectly reflected in your present position. In other words, you are exactly where you are meant to be.

What does progress mean to you? Do you ever beat yourself up for a perceived lack of progress? Leave a comment below and share your insights.

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2 Responses to How Do You Measure Progress?

  1. Hello and thank you,
    to me progress is a certain change in oneself that can be realized if one is aware of the present moment and so finds more alignment with one’s inner truth. This inner truth is changing constantly. Instead of identifying with it and being attached to or being averted against it as I or “my present state of mind and body” tend to do I should just observe it. Only then my behaviour can be changed to possibly approach a final goal of total freedom from attachment.
    I tend to think that a faster, more intensive progress could be realized. But that works only with stronger effort to be constantly aware and more concentrated onthe inner truth. For that I think I need to be in different settings, at other places and with other people, such with knowledge of and dedication to this proress. That can very likely be working in meditation centers.

  2. Thanks Matthias for your thoughtful comment. Progress does seem to have much to do with freedom from attachment–how can we move on if we are holding on to the past? I also agree that setting and surroundings play an integral role in how the process unfolds. That’s why a retreat is on my agenda for 2014! Wish you all good things, and much progress(!) in the coming year.

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