Towards the end of last year, I returned to go to meetings for lay Carmelites (OCDS). I started doing this on my way into the Church almost twenty years ago, but life got in the form of being able to attend meetings.
So with this new group, I am going to be starting from scratch and going through the process again. That was the decision made by the priest in charge of our group. I have no problem with this as I see it as returning to the basics. All the more so, since this group has a religious as a spiritual assistant. The first group I was part of did not have specific training for aspirants. It was less organized and any instruction given, was given to all. So it is great being part of a group of people going through this together. It is always amazing to think you know something and find out all the things you did not know.
Recently I have gotten a greater appreciation for getting back to basics. I had dabbled off and on playing the guitar over the years, but never really advancing much. So I started a course initially via YouTube that is detailed, went through the basics and built on this little by little. Again I was amazed at how much I was learning regarding skills I thought I had already learned.
One thing this guitar course has focused on for me is demolishing the idea of talent as only something that is inate. That if you are not a natural, or born with this skill – then you just aren’t going to get far with it. This view was something I already partly knew. I remember Fr. Dubay some years ago focusing on this where he interviewed a bunch of people in different fields who were at the top of their trades. Again and again, the stories were of people that had to work hard at developing their skills, and that usually it did not come naturally to them. So I am relearning this, even as I already knew that in my career I had achieved some mastery of things, by working on them.
The idea of 30 minutes of mental prayer a day was pretty scary for me. I envisioned 29 to 30 minutes of distractions. Chesterton’s “If it’s worth doing, it is worth doing badly” is handy because the truth to this is not to worry about doing it poorly. The context of what Chesterton said was in the context of hobbies, but I think it is applicable generally. That doing it badly over and over again will lead to doing it less “badly.” Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes it less “bad.” Although the lesson he gives is to do things worth doing, spending that time in prayer is worth doing.
Note: The guitar course I was referring to is from is from Erich Andreas at YourGuitarSage. The video’s on YouTube along with the free 30 lesson beginner course are an intro to sell the paid training course and system I have found his teaching style to be encouraging without falling into motivational speaker lingo. There are plenty of such offerings now on the internet. I just saw his teaching style and methodological approach to be very helpful for me.