There is no doubt that some people are more blessed than others with musical talent, but even the most talented artist needs to practice on a daily basis. There is a quote on this theme that is like a coin so well worn that we can no longer discern whose head it portrays; it has been attributed to Franz List, Anton Rubenstein, Ignacy Paderewski and several other composers and performers–and perhaps they all said it; certainly they all felt it. The saying is, “If I do not practice for one day, I know it; for two days, my wife knows it; for three days, the public knows it.”
The same wisdom applies to our spiritual disciplines. No one is so spiritually gifted that they can dispense with their regular regime. The aspiration of the soul, the heart that ‘constantly reaches upward,’ must perpetually battle with the inertia and gravity of the world of limitations. That is why all the illuminated souls (who form the embodiment of the Spirit of Guidance) keep reaching. And therefore when we stretch ourselves upward, we are in their company.
In this connection, there is a tendency to think that we will be more spiritually advanced if we have a very advanced (or esoteric or exotic or little known) practice. Thinking for a moment about music, though, we can see that this is not true. Place the score of a beautiful sonata, for example, in front of a beginner, and you may not care to listen to the results, whereas a simple eight note scale played by a practiced artist may even bring a well-tuned listener to tears.
When a musician ripens, everything they do becomes musical, and similarly, when our spiritual practice ripens, it beings to show in all that we do. In our thought, our speech and our action, in the way we greet, in the way we serve, in the way we keep our silence, we begin to show the life and light that regular practice confers. At that stage, we could say that our everyday practice, by a sort of alchemy, has become ‘all-day’ practice.