One of the keys to mastery is the mundane.
Mundane is defined in the dictionary as the practical, ordinary and commonplace. Most of our life is spent in the mundane, doing ordinary and commonplace things such as walking, eating, breathing, waiting in line, driving etc. These mundane moments can be activated and used for our benefit and growth.
Progression in any cultivation path is closely tied to the amount of time spent training the principles of the path. If we, for example, dedicate two hours a day to training, there are still 22 hours to work with. If what we choose to do in these hours is not in alignment with our training principles, progress will not be as efficient and deep as it can be.
To activate the mundane and align it with our cultivation path, we need to know the fundamentals and essence of our path and find those core elements in the mundane moments and activities of our lives. For example, within the path of martial arts, footwork is key. Weight distribution in the legs and parts of the foot (ball and heel), foot position, and body articulation all determine the efficiency of receiving and expressing force. These elements are present anytime we stand and walk. As a result, we can cultivate our footwork throughout the day. Whether we are standing in line or walking to our car or around our home or office, these are all opportunities to cultivate footwork. When standing in line, we can work on loading the different parts of our foot with our weight. When we are walking, we can work on foot positioning and body articulation. Another example is breathing. Deep and skillful breathing is needed to operate at a high level in any field (i.e. sports, high intensity/pressure situations, meditation). Since breathing is essential to our existence and we are breathing anyway, each breath we take in our waking moments is an opportunity to cultivate the needed breathing pattern (to operate at a high level) in our field of study.
Activating the mundane in a way that is in alignment with your cultivation path exponentially increases your training time. It also enables you to apply/test the principles of your path in different circumstances. Another benefit is a sense of space, freedom, and peace as the pressure to have dedicated (dojo/studio/temple) training time (in the midst of a busy schedule) can be eased by the training you do through the day. Training during the mundane moments and activities of your life holds the key to higher quality dedicated (dojo/studio/temple) training time and vice versa. This is how the mundane becomes a valuable tool and magical element in achieving high skill and mastery.
We, as humans, are (and become) what we surround ourselves with and spend the most time doing.
Enjoy your cultivation and all that you do.
Sincere thanks to Rob McMullin and Lydia Campbell for assistance with this post.