"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon
I have for sometime now, been dedicated to training/practice on a daily basis (as much as possible). I sometimes even work out temporal plans for an upcoming week. For example: Taiji form and Sabre practice on Monday; Hatha Yoga on Tuesday; Strength training on Wednesday; Hunyuan Qigong on Thursday; Taiji form on Friday; Strength training on Saturday; Sunday rest-day; with of course, meditation and some form of yogic exercise every day: Qigong, Tibetan Yoga, Pranayama, Dao Yin, etc...
Some version of this plan makes for a good schedule for me. When it works. However, what often happens is my ideal plans get altered in favor of life demands. It is at this point that the real practice begins. Training is important, and sticking to lifestyle regimes is important. And I do. However, when life has plans of its own, we have to ask: why do we do this anyway?; why do we train?; what are we practicing for?
For me, physical and energetic training are important, but they are nothing less than embodied mind training. If we see ourselves as whole entities, we can't really, in the end, divide ourselves into mind-body, three treasures, or anything else. When we are engaged in physical practice, we are also engaged in mental practice, and vice-versa. Further, we are training to live life. And the ultimate aim of life is love. So, when we are faced with challenges, we must respond with love. When work demands or family situations divert us from our physical and/or spiritual routines, we are blessed with opportunities to apply our training. Such situations are not diversions. They are the meat of life.
The life we live is the life we have. it is good to be intentional, but it is also good to be realistic and understand that we have not, do not, and will not control all aspects of life. We must be good at being appropriately proactive and intelligently reactive. To do that, we need to understand just a little how life works. Once we find our True Center, we find it's not outside of us. It's not in the past, nor the future. And it really has very little to do with the day-to-day activities we are involved in. We can learn to cooperate with the nurturing aspect of the Universe, but we must learn as well that we can't control it. Nor should we even want to. Once we become acquainted with our higher aspects, that of Ultimate Reality residing within us, of which we are part and parcel, we see that all is well in this world. We can do our best to live engaged and intentional lives, but we do well to understand that doing so is based more on internal understanding than it is external manipulation. In short, we should be centered and go with the flow.
This is what I called applied training. So, on those days when life doesn't allow me time to meditate or work on my Taiji form, I know that this is the time to apply the training. When family obligations override training plans, it is time to respond with love, to utilize that Center we so fondly nurture in practice. When it's all said and done, all we really want is to live life the best we can.