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Soulful Sundays: Art of Throwing

At surface level a skilled juggler appears superhuman. If you have ever seen one in action you will know exactly what I'm talking about. They seemingly suspend objects in the air, readjust their orientation on a whim, and do so while not dropping anything. The degree of focus and practice hours necessary for mastery are truly impressive. However, the mechanics of juggling are actually simpler than you may think--throwing an object in the air and catching it. It is the complex layering of these simple mechanics that make it truly spectacular. Every great juggler began with throwing and catching a single object, then two objects, and so on and so forth--but the very first thing they had to master was still the art of throwing.

One of the greatest lessons we have to learn is the importance of a good throw. Jugglers who make poor throws will have a hard time making good catches, so the first skill supersedes the second. We can extend the metaphor of throwing to include almost anything that we seek to do well. By engaging mindfully in the intended trajectory and velocity of an action, we make it's consequences easier to manage. Done frequently and deliberately, our intention begins to form the action. Good intention well practiced equals good action. Just like a master juggler isn't able to consciously control all of his throws and catches (he has unconsciously integrated them), so too will we begin unconsciously creating better outcomes.

This begs the question of, "What is good intention, good action, and good outcome?" Humans are intrinsically social creatures, so we are constantly weighing our beliefs, accomplishments, and failures against the greater social constructs that contain us. But this kind of relativistic thinking tends to only amplify the current trends of our social group. What happens when that group is comporting itself in a way that runs counter to our own values? Or against the universal values of the myriad of convergent spiritual traditions? Or against the natural laws and order that define reality? Well, then we might have a problem. We might be throwing the ball a little too recklessly and hoping someday we'll learn to catch it, or just not caring at all.

Thus, we are compelled to seek equilibrium. We must do the hard thing and slow down for a while so then, we can relearn the basics. Here the wisdom and guidance of our ancestors and the natural order should take precedence. Living a good life includes honoring the Golden Rule, telling the truth, taking time to work hard and to also rest, improving ourselves and giving to others, taking care of our bodies and minds, and surrendering the outcome of our actions on faith that God has a plan. These things (like throwing) are really quite simple, but that doesn't make them easy. Living a good life will take discipline, practice, and an unknown amount of frustration, but will result in a level of mastery that will awe both you and others. Focus on throwing wisely and let the catching take care of itself.

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