[R]ecollection cannot be begun by making strenuous efforts, but must come gently, after which you will be able to practice it for longer periods at a time. So I will say no more about this now, except that it is very important for you to consult people of experience; for otherwise you will imagine that you are doing yourselves great harm by pursuing your necessary occupations. But, provided we do not abandon our prayer, the Lord will turn everything we do to our profit, even though we many find no one to teach us. (Teresa of Avila: Second Mansions)
Baseball . . . involves constant attention to the law of cumulation, which is: A lot of little things add up, through 162 games, 1,458 innings, to big differences. A 162-game season is, like life, an exercise in cumulation. (George Will)*
In baseball a “lot of little things add up . . . to big differences.” This is also true of reading, relationships, exercise, and running a business. While certain life situations require major adjustments, most success comes by establishing sustainable practices followed by timely adjustments. Spirituality also functions best as a series of sustainable steps. Start small, repeat daily.
Two important spiritual practices to establish are:
- Recollection: In recollection we “collect” or “center” ourselves through prayer, meditation, and silence. When we center ourselves we are more likely to abandon distractions that consume time and energy. Recollection may seem insignificant at first, but “a lot of little things add up”. Teresa says, “recollection cannot be begun by making strenuous efforts, but must come gently, after which you will be able to practice it for longer periods at a time.” Start small, repeat daily.
- Seeking Guidance: Teresa says, “it is very important for you to consult people of experience”. Find people with practical wisdom and life experience. We can rely on their experience to avoid overreaching or getting off track. Don’t make these meetings too big a project — once or twice a month is enough. Avoid advice from those wanting to manage everyone else and have grand plans to “fix things”. They do not center themselves and sweep others into unsustainable activities.
I encourage you to establish sustainable spiritual practices. Start small and repeat daily because “A lot of little things add up . . . to big differences.” When we do this with prayer and meditation “the Lord will turn everything we do to our profit”.
*George Will – Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball (Macmillan Publishing)
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