practice or no practice?

I have read and been told on a number of occasions that trying to do practices to wake up more deeply is simply movement away from the one-moment-that-is, that there is nothing to be done at all.

Last night, five us sat in our living room and talked about the notion of practice. Some of us came from spiritual traditions where regular, daily practice was considered essential to development, and still sit regularly. Others have a more fluid response, and sit only when it is apparent that sitting is called for. I can only share what comes to me. Generally this involves not doing—in the traditional sense—at all.

Mostly, I notice. This shows up in various ways. If I’m glancing outside, I take note of the movement of the plants and trees in response to the air currents. They don’t think about it; they don’t resist; they simply respond. The body relaxes in return, letting go of any holding that may be there. The movement in the trees is a visual metaphor and reminder.

I write on most days. This doesn’t feel like a choice, but not a demand or a duty, either. Writing reminders to myself such as this one pour out. I think of them as eating up the self, tiny bit by tiny bit.

Some evenings, after I return home and greet my husband and our two dogs, I sit quietly. No TV or music is turned on; the house is quiet. The day has been filled with doing, often responding just like the tree branches in the breeze. Now I’m called to not do. The mind may chatter—which is the way of minds—but I’m not interested in the content of the thoughts, so I don’t follow them. Instead, I notice the perfume of what is always still, and rest as that.

And sometimes, I doze!

© Skye Blaine, 2011

3 thoughts on “practice or no practice?

  1. Love that last line !

    Sometimes sleep is more necessary than anything else.

    I practiced quite regularly for 10 years, some days 90 min. or more. Now, practice is more like noticing and nonresisting, as you describe. No formal practice at all right now. Maybe whatever peeps are doing is what they need to do. idk. But have felt benefit from each approach at the time I have done each.



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