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Archive for August 23rd, 2013

Fractals2

Last week’s post focused on the axiom of “Quality vs. Quantity” and the emphasis on quality in spiritual studies, workings and practice.  This week I would like to take a look at the quantity side of the coin and the imminent interaction the two have upon one another.

Quantity- Def. of:
a : an indefinite amount or number
b : a determinate or estimated amount
c : total amount or number

If we look at the definitions above there is implied a principle of abundance and having many of something. If we think about quantity as it relates to our spiritual practice this often translates as having lots of books and resource material, many teachers and hosts of workshops, festivals and rituals attended. The goal being to fill ourselves with as much knowledge and experience as possible in hopes of propelling ourselves forward on our chosen path in the little time allotted as physical beings.

Now, I am not saying that these things are not much needed tools, but being indiscriminate in how we use our time, financial resources and energy could be likened to falling prey to the “more is better” syndrome. Workshop junkies who go from one blissful workshop to another without giving time for the information to integrate or verifying the validity of content taken in learn little that is substantive in quality and often burn out prematurely from overload at the point when longevity is most needed. Reading is a wonderful staple of practice and learning, but the quantity of material we can actually process and then put to use is meager compared to the quantity of what is retained if the discernment of quality of content is missing. And, attending ritual after ritual that is devoid of clear intent and understanding of what has been ritualized on your part and quality and power of execution on the part of priest and priestess will leave you thirsting for more satisfying and clearer streams at best, and disconnected, ungrounded and uprooted at worst.

As I noted last week in using the example of refining my skill as a dancer by seeking out actions that were repetitive and determinate in the quantity of hours spent in class and rehearsal, I eventually reached my goal of refinement and quality of movement. This quality came incrementally and was the child that was birthed from the union of maximum effort and selective exercise.  The important factor is that the number of hours spent and practice were all filled with the quality of intent in creating something beautiful and perfect in execution and form that could be added to the quantity of these individual steps that were being accumulated. This effort in and of itself was using a mindset of quality in choosing to select quantity in the  amount of effort put forth.  Each of these individual steps that had been tempered in the quantity of practice  and brought to a place of quality could then be used to create a quality piece of choreography that held both states as its place of inception.

What I have come to learn from this constant flip flop from a place of drawing in everything and then whittling down to the space of refinement and clarity is that any work of self-improvement and self-knowledge takes a great deal of work. It is a work in progress that spans years of concentrated effort and practice and more practice of the skill sets you wish to develop and to maintain. There will be many teachers, both formal and informal, you will engage with and the quality derived from the teachings will be proportionate with the quantity of those interactions. We are, afterall, part of the greater whole which is inclusive of billions of life forms, so to cloister ourselves away, interacting with only a “select” few is counter-intuitive to experiencing the lesson of an incarnate life.  And, it is in the weeding and wading through all of that great mass that we call living  to our highest potential that we can find the balance point of what we personally resonate with as quality that is extracted from what deeply informs and what is discarded.

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