Practice makes perfect, but one has to be a perfect practiser

Practice makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect, but one has to be a perfect practiser, or at any rate on the right lines. People take up this type of practice for a time; they struggle with it for a bit and then give up. And this is because the method is not understood. In Yogic psychology, action is defined as having a “purposive content” when it is planned and performed – and it is this that makes an impression on the mind. The impression is dynamic and wants to repeat itself.

In our lives, we are laying down by our action dynamic impressions at the base of the mind. These are not available to inspection, but they are there. They are called sanskaras, and they produce impulses in us: “I can’t stand this” or “I love that”.

Sanskaras can be controlled and changed; but this can be done only indirectly, not by direct confrontation with struggle and effort. Struggle and effort are needed to confront the impulses when they have risen up clearly before us, but this necessary control of instinctive, or simply irrational, behaviour does not immediately change the basic sanskaras from which the impulse has come. So though conquered this time, it will rise again, with seemingly undiminished force. Experiences like this often lead to despondency; “you can’t change human nature”, people say.

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