So I was trying to explain this concept to my friend William the other day, the idea of practice. We were specifically talking about being present, being mindful. I was saying how once you awaken to mindful practice, that it becomes work, a constant discipline. You don't have to do it forever though, I joked to him, just until you're dead.
Haha, so funny, right?
Then I saw this amazing animation, by the animator Guy Collins. It's about a girl and her boyfriend, who are sucked into a video game that's a "Hope Spot", or Kaizo trap. We've all played these sorts of games before - you fight hard and get to a safe spot, and then WHAM! die and have to start all over again.
Here, watch it.
It's an amazing video. You watch the girlfriend, and right from the beginning, she struggles. She's pulled on in, and dies, horribly. The look on her face when she's "reset" shows that it clearly fucking hurt.
She gets back up. She goes again. And dies. Then does it again. And again. And again.
Each time she dies, she grows more skilled, has more knowledge, progresses. Eventually, she moves in a manner that's almost eerily, inhumanly fluid. She gets far, very, very far.
Until she reaches that kaizo trap. She thinks she's safe, thinks she can rest, thinks that the game is giving her a break.
There's no break. She dies. Painfully. Horribly. But this time, she doesn't just reset. She's given a choice:
- Exit the game, back to the comfort of her living room (leaving her boyfriend stuck in this hellish nightmare)
- Go all the way back to the beginning.
She's tired. The prospect of doing it all again is daunting. But she narrows her eyes, and with a grim, fierce, almost joyful determination, she chooses to continue.
That is practice.