When I was in my Martial arts training the students often used the term perishable skills. They would use this to denote that we had to keep up the practice on your own or are ability and quality would suffer. This applied from grip and leverage skills to knowledge such as 10 codes. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but recently I was given an opportunity to apply for a Training exercise (they invited me to test with them). In the process, I noticed my knowledge had declined.
Where I once knew the 10 Codes by heart, now I remember like 5 of them.
Which means back to studying stage for me, especially if I process in the testing process.
I find this not only relates to the Martial arts (and really a lot we learn in life) but is all too common in the human experience. There is this set bar to reach. Here is some study material, here are some practices, okay good, now here is a test, already done deal – High score. How many then continue those practices, continue to not only those practices but seek to go above and beyond? The truth is, not a lot. This is seen in a variety of ways. There is no progress, no improvement. People cling to “I can swing a foam ax around and shout, so I am a Warrior.” It is beyond embarrassing for individuals like myself. Especially when they do so in “Armor.”
In any case, the point is that the Seeker’s path is a never-ending lifestyle of study, practice, and growth. You don’t get to leave the basics at the door. In fact, my whole training system is a continual circle folding back into itself. Same core topics, same core ideals, revisited in different ways. Because this essence of the Path – there is the core ideals, but these things really do have levels of complexity. Peace in itself is not a single-facet element, neither is Knowledge. These concepts have multiple meanings and uses and can be approached in a variety of ways.
Thus for Seekers we have to continually keep up basic practices, basic exercises, basic ideals, going back to the basics and remembering to keep our skills intact or they will vanish on us and leave us open. I personally had to go through this with Meditation. I got to a point where I just stopped practicing Meditation. Hey, 10 years in the path, 10 years of practice, why do I need to continue it? I had survived days when I was busy and never got around to it. Thus – why continue? Well because it plays a core role in the development of a Seeker. And when you set aside the practice the benefits begin to wane – Perishable Skills, Perishable Results. And Meditation really does play a key part in many aspects of personal excellence– especially considering emotional and mental well-being.
Thus it is a reminder to me that the Seeker’s Path is a perishable skills path.
There is no point you get to sit back and simply claim Masterhood. It is a continual growth and continual project. And as you grow, as you continue your practice and studies, the more you realize how young you were, and how much you have to learn.
You can learn things easy enough, but if you do not practice them, if you do not live by them daily, they will fall by the wayside and come worthless. Leaving you to start at square one. You cannot get so good at meditation or so great at physical fitness that you simply can stop and have the benefits last forever. It is continuous.