Our practices help condition our heart to love as well and as best it knows in moments in time. Jack Kornfield has said it this way: "What would love have you do?" Our teachers remind us, ultimately, we practice with the aspiration that our practices generate wise action, skillful responses and a loving, compassionate heart beyond the practice. We recognize that we still have our moments of pain, suffering, clinging, reacting less skillfully, but we may notice that the unhelpful or unwholesome states are less frequent and that our encountering of pain is held more gently. We may notice over time that we are accessing with greater facility another moment to see and experience what is-just as it is.
The “How” of Practice:
Informal Practice:: Life is the practice here: walking, driving, eating, picking up the phone, not picking up the phone. Anything and everything are invitations to notice what you feel, sense, do. What is automatic? What do you see, hear, feel, touch, or neglect due to habituation?
Formal Practice: Setting time to “sit” alone or in community in mediation. There are many approaches and ways to meditate (beyond the scope of this post), and I would say there truly is no right or wrong way; it’s what works for you.
Intensive Practice: Multi-day retreats can assist in developing deeper concentration and assist in unraveling the stories we might tell ourselves about ourselves, others and the world. Retreats will generally include sitting mediations, eating/walking/mindful movement, chants and “talks,” along with check-ins with teachers and practice group.