Question of Practice

October 11th, 2011 by Editor B

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I touched on the idea of dialog as a practice which I hope to cultivate.

Here are some other practices which I’m, um, practicing, with some regularity.

  • Mindfulness meditation.
  • Writing.
  • Baking bread.

I took yoga classes for about three months, but cut them as an austerity measure; now that our finances have stabilized I should pick that up again.

I’d like to address each of these in more depth going forward. That’s the plan, anyhow. For now I thought it might be good to pause and ask you, reader —

What else?

What practices do you find beneficial?

I’m interested especially in those practices which might not seem spiritual or religious at first glance. But anything goes.

What practices expand your sense of self, of connectedness, of context, of the numinous? What do you do on a regular basis that deepens your experience as a living being on this Earth? What you strengthens you as a person? What integrates the loose ends of your life?

And — how often do you do them?

Does this question even make sense?

Photo adapted from original love? / Federico Reiven / BY-NC-SA 2.0

9 Responses to “Question of Practice”

  1. Martin Says:

    The question makes sense and hopefully will be expanded by yourself and others.

    Practices:

    Once upon a time I practiced Yoga. I let it go however because it kept me too much in what I considered to be physical extremity – as in pain – and I was far too competitive at the time.

    Once upon a time I practiced Tai Chi. I let it go however because it kept me too much in what I considered to be mental extremity – as in trying to remember which position or move came next – and I was way too much a perfectionist at the time.

    Once upon a time I practiced running/jogging. I let it go however because it kept me too much in a semi-crippled state due to an old knee injury – and my ego wouldn’t allow me any self-gentleness at the time.

    Once upon a time I practiced Zen meditation. I let it go however because it kept me too much in a state similar to both Yoga and Tai Chi – not to mention running (due to the stress placed on said knee from attempting to maintain an appropriate Lotus Posture) – and I lacked any understanding of why it was necessary to sit that way at the time.

    Now I am an old man and I practice none of these things.

    However, over the years I have gradually ‘invented’, and am still allowing to develop, a ‘way’ for myself that incorporates elements of Tai Chi, Chi Gong, ‘Mindfulness Meditation’, thankful prayer, deep breathing and attention to the Now.

    It requires about an hour – usually first thing in the morning. I allow it to ‘do’ me about three times a week. On the off days I walk, usually three to five miles. But none of this is regulated or regular – there are lapses, sometimes long ones.

    And I write, now and then.

    I even baked bread this week.

    And then there’s doing the dishes – a wonderful way toward deep contemplation.

  2. Editor B Says:

    I love the perspective, Martin.

    Fortunately the yoga I took was right in that sweet spot, not too harsh but not too easy. Now that instructor has a different schedule — I wonder if I’ll be able to find the right “mix” again.

    Also, note to self: I’ve been doing a lot of family genealogy. Forgot to list that practice above.

  3. Jenny Says:

    Walking through woods. That’s definitely a way to get a breather. Listening to kids talk and laugh. I do need to watch my potty mouth, though. There’s got to be other ways to joke around.

  4. Editor B Says:

    I wish there was more wild nature close at hand, but at least we do have a huge park. I notice you don’t mention doing dishes, Jenny. Hopefully Herb still has that well in hand.

  5. Garvey Says:

    Honest to goodness exercise, 5x/wk for 45 minutes, keeping my heart rate between 65-85% of max the whole time. I do it at lunch, on campus. It ends the morning, resets everything, and clears the mind and body for the afternoon. For me, it’s swimming. If XULA doesn’t have a pool or you don’t like swimming, maybe a vigorous bike ride would work for you?

  6. chrissieroux Says:

    Running is my practice. I’m a huge believer in vigorous exercise as a spiritual conduit, and running is so perfectly suited for meditative practice.

    People often mistake running for torture, but when done gently and methodically, it is the exact opposite.

  7. candice Says:

    I was baking bread a few times a week from January up until July or so. We’re too disorganized with cooking since Clay started grad school to handle bread at the moment. I miss it.

    Ballet clears my head by force; it requires enough concentration that it is impossible for my mind to wander off.

  8. Editor B Says:

    Exercise, exercise, exercise. (Ballet counts as exercise as well as art.) I could definitely use some more of that. I’m sure y’all know I ride my bike daily, but the distances are short. My heart rate doesn’t stay elevated long enough to achieve an aerobic benefit. It is a very pleasant way to get around, though.

  9. b.rox » Archive » Writing to Expand the Self Says:

    [...] promised to write about my three regular practices: meditation, baking, and writing. The last topic should be the easiest to address. I’ve been [...]

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