Whether we realize it or not, we are all practicing at something. Practice is the application of our beliefs and values, whether conscious or unconscious. What we practice, becomes stronger. What we practice, we become. So, it makes sense for us to be aware of and intentional about practice. What are you practicing in this moment?
Practice is not just about doing. The things we repeat over and over again become more ingrained and we move toward greater proficiency in these acts, but the intention behind the practice is also important. Setting an intention informs how we practice and makes action deliberate. What are your intentions for practice?
If the intention for practice is perfection, we may miss out on valuable information. It helps to be open to and accepting of “errors” in practice. Missteps provide us with important feedback about how our actions are serving our intentions. This means there really are no errors.
The formal mindfulness practices are a kind of rehearsal for presence and awareness in daily life. These skills improve with repetition and beneficent intention. With enough practice over time, we may become experts. However, if we practice without awareness or intention, we may become experts at mindlessness.
What are you practicing in this one precious life?
When I practice sitting meditation, I do not open the doors of the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body, or the mind, and yet I feel very alive. I feel cozy. I practice breathing in mindfully and I touch the fact that I am alive. I touch the miracle of life within me. I enjoy breathing in and breathing out. I generate the energy of mindfulness. – Thich Nhat Hanh