A+ A A-

The Rule of the Edge

The Rule of the Edge

In all of my many challenges and habit changes and book writing and learning, I’ve found one thing to be the most powerfully beneficial to all growth, learning and training.

I call it the Rule of the Edge.

Here’s the rule: practice at your edge most of the time.

And this rule is what will help you grow the most, over time.

What do I mean by “your edge”? I mean going just to the edge of discomfort, just to the edge of what is difficult for you, what is pushing your boundaries a bit.

If you’re practicing music, and you just practice the scales all the time, after awhile, doing the scales is too easy for you. You aren’t learning very much by only practicing musical scales. Sure, it’s still a good practice, but you have to push to something that’s more challenging for you.

If you’re exercising, easy exercise is a good thing … but you also need to push yourself. Just a bit.

But your edge isn’t pushing yourself until you’re ready to collapse. It’s not pushing to injury, pushing so that you can’t practice tomorrow. It’s not studying all day long until your brain has melted.

It’s going to the edge, not diving off it.

And when I say, “Practice at your edge most of the time,” notice the phrase “most of the time.” You shouldn’t be at your edge all the time. It’s exhausting, and can take a lot of focus. Instead, try to be there more than half the time. Don’t be lazy, but also give yourself some easy practice.

There’s a lot of value in easy practice — it cements your learning, keeps you in good shape, keeps you sharp. It locks in the easy stuff as easy. And it can be a lot of fun.

You can also experiment with pushing a little past your edge, if you have the experience to know that it’s safe. But best to do this under supervision of a teacher or trainer if you aren’t sure.

So mix it up. More than half of your practice should be at your edge, but anywhere from 20-40% of your practice should be easy stuff. A blend is best — not “all easy and then all edge” but “easy, edge, easy, edge, edge, easy easy” or something similar.

What Edge Training Looks Like in Practice

Here’s how this kind of edge practice might work in real life:

  • If you’re practicing yoga, you might do an hourlong practice where about 60% of the poses (roughly) are challenging for you (but not so challenging that you’ll be injured or exhausted), and the rest are easy ones that allow you to focus on your breath and recover from the edge poses.
  • If you’re running, you’ll mix up your running days — four days will be challenging but not crazy, and some with easy ones thrown in between. And a rest day or two, of course.
  • If you’re learning chess or Go, you’ll do problems or drills that are hard for you, and also a bunch of easy ones. The easy one cement the patterns. The edge ones teach you new patterns.
  • If you’re creating a habit, like learning to meditate, start with just short meditations (let’s say 2-5 minutes), as that will be your edge when you start. But eventually you’ll want to do longer meditations (10 minutes, 20, even more), finding the spot that’s your edge. And mixing in some shorter, easier ones will help you stay sharp at your edge.
  • If you want to train yourself to get comfortable with discomfort and uncertainty, you find a way to make yourself uncomfortable each day, and practice mindfulness in the middle of that discomfort. For example, taking a cold shower might be your edge. But another day, you might just go outside when it’s a little chilly, with only a T-shirt on, for 20 minutes. You might practice at the edge of your discomfort with exercise, speaking on a stage, meditating for longer, etc.

The Way to Practice at Your Edge

When you’re at your edge, it’s one thing to just tolerate it, to grit your teeth and bear it until it’s over … and quite another thing to actually practice with the discomfort and uncertainty of being at that edge.

If you want to get the most out of practicing at your edge, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Go up to the edge and stay there for a little longer than you’d like. You want to collapse, you want to exit. Instead, hold the pose for a little longer. See it as your growth in action.
  2. Now drop mindfully into the discomfort & uncertainty. Drop into your body, noticing the sensations of the discomfort. Standing on stage in front of hundreds of people? Notice the sensations of anxiety or nervousness (or excitement, whatever you’d like to call it). Running a hard mile? Notice the sensations in your legs and torso.
  3. Practice opening in that uncertainty & discomfort. See what you can do to relax into this feeling of being at your edge. Can you bring a sense of curiosity? Explore the bodily feeling for a bit, noticing what it’s like. Relax your muscles around these sensations. Bring a sense of gentleness to it. A sense of compassion. A sense of humor. Open your mind to all sensations in the present moment, including the sense of discomfort but also all of your surroundings. Open up to a vast skylike mind.

With practice, your edge can even be a place where you find comfort. A sense of easy. A sense of joy at the deliciousness of the groundlessness.

Some Rules About the Rule of the Edge

The Rule of the Edge comes with a few sub-rules:

  1. Don’t always be at your edge. Ease off. Do some easy stuff too.
  2. Sometimes it’s OK to go past your edge, if you keep yourself safe. It’s a sense of exploration, finding new edges.
  3. Your edge will change over time. Notice how it shifts. Keep pushing a little further into your edge, if you sense the shift.
  4. Practice mindfully at your edge, don’t just try to get through it.

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. My name is Leo Babauta. I live in Davis, California with my wife and six kids, where I eat vegan food, write, run, and read. Source

CrystalWind.ca is free to access and use.
"Please consider a small gift of $11.11 or $22.22 or $33.33
$44.44 or $55.55 or $77.77 or $88.88 or $111.11." 
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
"Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."

© 2008-2020 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

  Please buy us a coffee!
Pin It

Featured Writers

Featured This Month

Page:

Pisces Mythology

Pisces Mythology

The Mythology of Pisces By most accounts, the mythology of P... Read more

Pisces

Pisces

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 Spirit: Search for security Ego: Unrealistic, com... Read more

Bright Beltane Blessings!

Bright Beltane Blessings!

The wheel turns to Beltane, also known as Mayday, marking the beginning of S... Read more

St. Patrick

St. Patrick

True history and legend are intertwined when it comes to St. Patrick. It is ... Read more

Aquamarine

Aquamarine

The Stone of Truth Aquamarine can provide a significant boost to the immune... Read more

Wolf Medicine

Wolf Medicine

Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan ... Read more

March 15 - The Ides of March - Should You Be…

March 15 - The Ides of March - Should You Beware?

Had it not been for events in ancient Rome, March 15th would be just another... Read more

Sun in Pisces

Sun in Pisces

Sun in Pisces February 22 through March 20 An Overview of Sun Sign Characte... Read more

Plantain

Plantain

Plantain Helps you feel grounded Gender: Feminine Planet: Venus Element: Ea... Read more

Fluorite

Fluorite

The Focus And Study Stone Fluorite helps to assimilate ideas and informatio... Read more

Big Winds Moon

Big Winds Moon

Cougar -  Turquoise -  Plantain -  Blue and Green February ... Read more

History of St. Patrick

History of St. Patrick

Saint Patrick, The Apostle of Ireland, was born at what is now Kilpatrick, n... Read more

Spirit of Cougar

Spirit of Cougar

Spirit of Cougar Role: Leader Lesson: Proper Use of Power Element: Earth ... Read more

The Ash Tree - February 18 - March 17

The Ash Tree - February 18 - March 17

Celtic Symbol : The Trident Or Sea - Horse Zodiac Degrees : 28º00` Aquarius... Read more

Beltane Celtic Style

Beltane Celtic Style

Simple ways to celebrate the feast-days of the Celtic Year. The Return of... Read more

St Patrick - Ireland's Patron Saint

St Patrick - Ireland's Patron Saint

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most wide... Read more

Birth Totem - Wolf

Birth Totem - Wolf

Birth Totem Wolf Birth dates: February 19 - March 20 Birth Totem: Wolf Cl... Read more

4 Lucky Stones For St. Patrick’s Day

4 Lucky Stones For St. Patrick’s Day

I always wake up on St. Patrick’s Day with a big, mischievous smile on my fa... Read more

Do you see 11:11?

Do you see 11:11?

11:11 Do you see it? For many years the numbers 11:11 have been mysteriousl... Read more

Beltane

Beltane

Beltane Ritual Celebrated May 1st Beltane is also known as May Day, Walpurg... Read more

© 2008-2020 CrystalWind.ca. Site Creation by CreativeInceptions.com.
X

Right Click

No right click