How to Build Spiritual Muscle Memory


Whenever I'm learning a new technique, one of the things I seek to do is build up the spiritual muscle memory of the technique so that it becomes something I can do without necessarily putting a lot of thought into it. The reason I do this is because I find that to truly master a skill, you need to make it part of you in a way that doesn't involve thinking about it. It's not something you do...its something you become. Developing that kind of spiritual muscle memory involves a systematic approach to learning a technique. You break the technique down into steps and focus on learning each step.

When I learn a technique, I focus on one step at a time. When I was learning the five Healing sounds of meditation, I focused on learning one sound at a time, working with that sound until I felt like I knew it and also knew what the sound was supposed to do when I meditated on it. I imprinted the sound on my consciousness, making it part of me, so I wouldn't need to think of it. Then I'd move onto the next sound, learning it and integrating it into the previous work. By scaling my learning, creating distinct steps to learn the technique I was also able to make it part of my spiritual muscle memory. Once a step is mastered, I move on to the next step. By the time I've fully learned the technique it has become part of what I do without much thought, because I don't want thinking to get in the way of doing the technique. I want it to be an immersive experience and this occurs when you have spiritual muscle memory.

Spiritual muscle memory is a form of conditioning that allows you to train your entire being to become what you do. The technique resides within you, a part of your identity that moves you and moves with you. You know the technique and your knowing of it occurs in your ability to do it without putting much thought into what you are doing. Thought gets in the way of becomes a distraction that holds you back from the experience you could have. You will think a lo when you first learn a technique, but as you imprint it and make it part of you, you won't need to think about it. You'll become it, let it infuse you with what it is and as a result make it part of your expression.

Take a given technique as a whole and break it into steps. What is the first thing you need to do. Do it until you know it...until its something you do automatically, then move onto the next step and learn it in the same way. You'll find as you initially learn the technique that it will grab the whole of your consciousness, occupying you with the effort involved in learning it. But one you've learned the steps and made them into something you do automatically, it won't grab you in the same way, and this will free you up to go in deeper with the technique, to open yourself up to the experience that only comes when you know something. It's a deeper experience that allows you to get to the heart of what you are doing and make it into something that fits with other work you are doing. It becomes more complex and yet simpler as well. Simple in the doing of it, complex in the connections you make to the other work you do. The spiritual muscle memory supports it and allows you to go deeper, work more intensely with whatever it you are working on. That's why I build spiritual muscle memory with techniques, because it leads me to more immersive work, allowing me to plumb the depths of whatever I'm focused on.