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Infinite Practice

written by Guest Blogger March 4, 2014

If you are currently or have ever dealt with a difficult breakup, you’ll love today’s guest post by Bruce Grinstead, blogger of PixlBuli. It’s quite different than what we normally publish here on Live Lighter, so keep reading for an interesting spin on how to manage our emotions during deteriorating relationships and other hardships in life.  


The Life of Pi is a wonderful story of a spiritual, mystical and very human struggle, and a connection with an otherwise dangerous adversary, a Bengal tiger. Add this book or movie to your list of time well spent. After watching Life of Pi it occurred to me that it was also a fitting comparative study in handling a difficult divorce or the end of a relationship. Obviously, not all divorces have such a sense of challenge and despair, but too often a person ends up navigating the buffeting seas of both life and divorce whilst sharing the boat with a Bengal tiger. Or, THEY are the tiger – if they’re truly introspective.

In the movie, I related the main character Pi’s enduring spirituality, commitment to survival and his diary as his daily practice, or the very staple that helped him maintain a sense of survival during his plight. Once these were lost, taken away or challenged, he had to dig even deeper into his soul for sustenance – he learns to adapt and come to peace with his circumstance. He prays.

Often, I have personally felt overwhelmed at the incoming tsunami of life, much less adding the arduous nature of my own divorce. And, often, I felt that my practices had failed me during these charnel moments. Whether it was a meditation session that ended in anxiety, unable to focus on writing in my diary, or exercise regimes quickly forgotten, I would soon find myself drowning in frustration and fear, my whole foundation crumbling in uncertainty as I stood on the primordial cliff of my very birth – frigid and naked.

Get used to it, I tell myself, because there are no comforts required, truly, if you are at one with Atman. This thinking is a very implausible as we live our lives in stages, seldom brushing with Atman in pure states. Life is sandpaper on the soul.

But it’s not the practice that has failed me, but rather I have failed to stay steadfast to it. Oddly, our practices are the very tools we hone for these situations, but often the first thing we put down during stormy times. Still, it is wise to grasp at something. Identify and commit to at least one component of your practice that is your ‘go to’ card. An anchor.

Once established, this small token of your overall practice can put you right back on a steady path during times of struggle. It may take time, but it is well worth picking up what we have so quickly discarded and replaced with uncertainty, fear and loathing. Recovering (rediscovering) one iota of your practice can feel like picking up a sword and marching into the headwinds towards victory or at the least a sense of rectitude. You might share this root practice with someone whom you love – these are often the people who gently remind us, “Are you meditating?”

During the challenge of divorce, everyone is in the same boat. Be kind. You will each be bailing water at some point. All you will be able to account for at the end of the day during the seemingly unfair, unbelievable results of divorce is your own behavior and integrity. Our own practices help us to stay focused on these virtues. Sometimes, that’s good enough or all there is – to say, “I may have lost the battle, but I participated with compassion.”

Those virtues will be challenged, too, because we all have the inherent need to not only survive, but conquer in the most unspectacular ways. Just because we’re standing upright and wearing clothes doesn’t erase our primal desire to be the sole victor. A practice helps us to be mindful, of our own actions and to others. It leaves an indelible mark on us, and this is experienced by the other.

Like the Mathematical constant, Pi ?, our practices should be infinite and constantly changing to adapt to our stages and states. We should own and foster its growth while taking care of our well-being. It is ours, after all. And, we should own our actions when dealing with others, even during the most difficult of times – everyone notices.

About the Author

Bruce Grinstead is frequently involved in various creative activities, including writing and creative expression through art . His professoinal life is spent writing technical manuals, marketing material and web content. Bruce also pursues a daily practice of being enhanced by the occasional bouts of meditation and long walks in nature. Or, sometimes, he just watches a good movie. The PixlBuli blog was created to share experiences and thoughts about the body/mind/spirit experience and applied literature – ‘Content that Matters’ – because, without our little forays into peacefulness, the world simply be chaotic.

What’s YOUR anchor during difficult times? What do you do as a daily practice to keep you sane in an insane world?

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Bob M March 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I worked at the same location as Bruce for several years. Very likeable gentle man. I knew he was a writer of sorts, but never imagined he was this talented a writer. It was and is a very pleasant discovery of this wonderful hidden talent.
Very well done Bruce, stay strong.

Kate April 3, 2014 at 12:16 am

Great article, I’ll have to re-watch the movie with it in mind! Very interesting and insightful.

Morgan Joy April 3, 2014 at 7:24 am

Bold and honest! I’ve passed this article along to a loved one who is steering a tiger-infested ship.

JD April 4, 2014 at 1:03 am

“Recovering (rediscovering) one iota of your practice can feel like picking up a sword and marching into the headwinds towards victory or at the least a sense of rectitude.” This quote in particular really struck a chord. Sometimes the smallest, most seemingly insignificant actions can make a world of difference in your growth/progress.
Eloquently written piece overall!

Head Health Nutter April 5, 2014 at 1:38 am

I just re-watched Life of Pi with Bruce’s article fresh in my mind. The main character provides an alternative more “realistic” story. Did you catch who the tiger was in this alternative? And how it related to the events in the boat, as well as to Bruce’s article?

I`m so happy you all enjoyed Bruce’s work! Yes, he`s a very insightful and a clever writer. I’m hoping he’ll submit more articles for Live Lighter!


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