When I practice by myself, I take comfort knowing that I may be practicing by myself but I’m not practicing alone. I can’t always see the other practitioners (like you) who comprise my personal practice community and who might be rolling out their mats at the same moment or who are midway through their sadhana, but I know that community is out there.
In the midst of an intense training program, the following story was shared with me and my fellow trainees. This story comes by way of Pat Croce, who’s a jack of all trades (former physical therapist, athletic trainer, NBA owner, entrepeneur, etc.), from his book I Feel Great And You Will Too! (New York: Touchstone, 2001):
“A motorist was driving down a lonely road when he blew a tire, skidded into a ditch and flipped his car upside down. He managed to get out of the car but knew that he was in the middle of nowhere.
About the time he was ready to panic, a farmer came down the road in a cart pulled by a blind mule named Gus. The farmer offered to have Gus pull the car out of the ditch.
The man was very skeptical because Gus the blind mule looked very weak and frail but he agreed anyway as he had no other options to get his car back on the road.
The farmer hitched Gus the blind mule to the car, cracked his whip in the air and yelled…
“Yaaa there Sam! Pull! Pull!”
The mule did not move.
The farmer cracked his whip again and yelled out,
“Yaaa there Jake! Pull! Pull!”
The mule did not move.
Once more the farmer cracked his whip and shouted
“Yaaa there Pete! Pull! Pull!”
Still Gus did not move.
And then the farmer cracked his whip and shouted
“Yaaa there Gus! Pull! Pull!”
And at that moment, Gus dug in his scrawny hind legs, pushed through the dirt, and surged forward.
Soon enough the car turned right side up and came rolling out of the ditch and back onto the road. The motorist was shocked, appreciative, and curious. He asked the farmer why he called out all those other names.
The farmer simply replied that Gus is blind and if he thought it was just up to him alone to pull that car out of the ditch, he wouldn’t have even tried. But, when he thought he had the help and support of others, he was much stronger than he even knew he could be.”