Practice: Do I go with one and stick with it, or switch it up? Part II

Ruby Slippers

To continue this series of ruminations about how to select a practice or set of practices . . .

For a decade or so, my friend Andy Martin and I have had a weekly half-hour conversation about practice. Today being Thursday, we had one such conversation today. In the midst of my sharing with Andy what has been emerging in my practice in the last week (including this blog), Andy said "practice may be about going home." 

The moment he said it, I knew I'd be exploring that here today. If Andy is right (and I believe he is), what does it mean that practice is about going home? 

My first take on it is that practice is the natural activity of people who are going home to themselves. In that sense, then, such a practitioner is engaged in a journey, but not one "out there", but rather a journey to the truth of who they are. 

This characterization of practice is helpful in the process of sorting out what kinds of practice will best serve me in that journey. Seen this way, the discerning question to ask of a practice becomes, "does this serve to further reveal the truth of who I am?"

Of course, it's helpful to have a framework for this inquiry of identity, which framework can inform this discerning process. My working summary of who I am, a slight modification of one posited by Marc Gafni, is:

I am an irreducibly unique and evolving expression of God, that is, the love-intelligence and love-beauty that is the initiating and animating Eros of all-that-is, who lives in me, as me and through me in a way that it never has, does, or will ever again, other than through me.  

So, my inquiry about practice, informed by this statement of identity, becomes an inquiry into whether a practice serves to help me to understand and identify with the truth of this statement. 

You might ask "how do I apply this to specific practices, like zazen, contemplative prayer, or mindful walking?"

Ahh. If you have asked that question, I'm glad you did. I think I'll take that up in my next blog post.

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