Practice should wake us up.
When we look closer, which is what we use the different tools of practice for, we discover a tendency to fall asleep. To take for granted. To get caught up in the ongoing self obsessed story of I, me and mine. The story of a separate and never-ending me. The blown out of proportion me (remembering that there are 7 billion of us on this planet can be a sobering fact), the little poor me, the noone sees and acknowledges me-me. Practice is there to remind us of the facts of life, that we are a part of a greater whole, and that one day we shall all die. We shall all die, and we don't know when.
When we forget this, we tend to get caught up in our neurosis and scared and tense and small. When we remember, we can let go a little bit and appreciate life in all it's confusing and chaotic terror and beauty.
When we remember that we belong to this earth and this life and in this body and we even begin to sometimes feel it, then we will want to give back.
None of us want to die, but worse than dying is being less than alive, while we live. So knowing that we are going to die and not knowing when and not having the guts to fully live is the ultimate terror.
Practice helps us. Practice becomes the practice of coming back to the present moment. Practice becomes the bell that wakes us up. Practice becomes the container that holds our life no matter the content.
Yes yes, you say, this is all talk, and sure enough talk is great, but what do we do? I will share with you the essence of what I feel practice needs to be to serve us best, destilled from 20 years of practice. These are not rules, not even guidelines, but more like different lenses through which we can look at our lives and that help dissolve our feeling of isolation and separation. And remember, these are not truths, not even for me. I continually explore and discover new things and discard old ones. Like shedding skin.