It may be a bit easier to understand this concept beginning with the body. Last week, my friend Josh challenged me to a 100 Meter sprint. Although he had never seen me in running sneakers and I haven't run competitively since 5th grade, the muscles in my mind are trained to love a challenge.
On Monday night, I truly understood the concept of muscle memory. For years as a martial arts teacher, I would tell students that it was important to train correctly because practice makes permanent. Practicing a form over and over again instills the movements into the body. Many years have passed since the 5th grade and I was never a sprinter, but I am a huge fan of the Truth and I figured what better way to know than to show up.
As we finished the warm up lap, Josh sped up for fun and I knew I was getting smoked. It would be easy to say that he is significantly taller and bigger than I am, or even note that he went to college on an athletic scholarship for Track & Field (didn't know this when I agreed.) Instead, I realized that I have conditioned my body slow. For 14 years, I have incorporated yoga into my daily ritual, slow-moving and stagnant postures.
On the bright side, I have also trained my mind. I love to win, but I also love to lose. When I lose, I know there is opportunity to grow and expand. I love to be challenged. Although, it may be rare that someone challenges you physically, most of us are challenged emotionally in someway everyday. This can be at work, at home, driving, being cut in line or any other interaction that causes you to lose center. Each encounter is an opportunity to expand your consciousness and connect to love. Each challenge is an opportunity to practice calmness.