Often, when conversation turns to practice, I hear the following: “I really don’t have a practice.”
I no longer believe this to be true. I believe that, in fact, for each of us and all of us, our lived life is our practice. However I spend my time today is my practice today. Of course, if I get up, do yoga, sit in meditation, chant, pray, read a spiritual text, and the like, nobody would argue that I have a practice.
However, I would argue that the same is true if I get up, eat last night’s pizza, throw back a Bloody Mary, go back to bed, get up at noon, and stagger to the train to get to my afternoon job, and then go to a bar after work and drink beer while watching the NBA playoffs.
And, I’m not even arguing that “practice” is whatever you do regularly. I would suggest that even if there is no particular pattern to what I do from one day to the next, that this, too, is practice — perhaps we call it “the practice of living the random life.”
So, for me, the question is not whether or not I have a practice, but, instead, what is my practice?
Why is this inquiry important?
Because, regardless of whether our practice is purposeful, it is developmental. That is, it contributes to the development of our being. Note, that “development” is not necessarily “advancement”. If I bang my head with an iron rod, I’ll develop a headache. Development is not always what we want!
So, the inquiry into what my practice is really is an inquiry into what I am developing.
So, I invite you, I invite me, into this: examine today what it is you are practicing. And then, perhaps this: what is such a practice likely to develop in me as a being?