Years ago when I was a student at Bombay University I would stay up late at night reading George Leonard's articles on mastery published in Esquire magazine. I was fascinated by George's ideas! Even though George was a 5th degree black-belt in Aikido rather than a yogi, his thoughts on the process of learning leading to mastery resonated with my own. His central idea is that learning proceeds in small spurts followed by long plateaus. Learning is taking place as much in the plateaus as in the spurts! Most of us expect a linear, upward sloping learning curve and when we reach our first plateau, we give up. Instead we should be celebrating the plateau!

A common friend arranged a meeting with George last week. It was lovely to see him in person after admiring his work from afar for over 20 years. T played the cello and then E played the piano and George and I talked about yoga and mastery. He is 85 years old, has written 12 books, is the President of Esalen but is humble about his accomplishments.

As we leave he scribbles something in a copy of his masterpiece and pushes the book in my hand as he hugs me tightly.

Later I look inside the book. George has written in his elegant scrawl, "Abhay, love the plateau- George"

 Abhay Ghiara is a life-long yoga practitioner who studied yoga and yoga philosophy at the Aurobindo Ashram and Bombay University. He now lives in Berkeley, California and teaches yoga to a wide range of students. 

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