There’s practice, and then there’s thinking about practice.
Knowing about practice, and having opinions about what’s right and wrong about the multitude of practice options, thinking about what it is, what it does, that it exists, is not practice. I’ve thought about practice till I’m blue in the face. Having it pervasively on my radar gave me the illusion that I knew something about it, the illusion that I was practicing. I had thoughts about the right way to do it, what it looked like, and how certain ones missed the mark. They were culturally appropriated, they were couched in social norms and fashions that icked me out, the people who were teaching them didn’t seem joyful or humble enough, they were expensive, they bred fucked-up communities rife with dysfunction and loss of human independence, they were too separate from everyday life and nature, people would routinely be one way in practice and another in “real life,” they revered a person or a philosophy over their own experience of knowing, and on. And on.
I fought with my brain to resolve those issues, so that I could practice right. I threw the baby out with the bathwater at my own expense. The ratio of my opinions to my actual practice looked like this: The more time I spent in the work, the less time I spent judging/avoiding it. So what about them? My suggestion: Don’t let anything come between you and your time with god. Practice in your way, with a teacher or discipline you like, that makes you feel good, that you’ll return to, that fits with your schedule, that supports your life. Stay both porous and consistent. Do it for yourself. It should be a thing you offer yourself to. The mind is devotional, not exerting, not controlling what’s happening.
In an intentional way, I find my breath, come back to the center of my physical universe and put myself in the hands of the teaching, whether it’s movement, breathwork, or a long line at the post office. The characteristics of my best practice are whole-heartedness, innocence, willingness, curiosity, deep attunement to what is happening, acceptance, exploration, and learning. Being self-empowered in our deep quest to evolve isn’t being a master of an exterior set of teachings or knowing a lot about stuff; it’s finding a place where you can let go and trust, and kiss the ground. Offer yourself. One of my favorite 5-rhythms teachers, Sarah Pagano, once said, “I don’t give a shit what your practice is, just find one you can let go inside of and return there as often as possible, every day.”
It’s not about the exterior stuff. Whenever you can, go inside yourself and dwell for some moments, knowing nothing, feeling everything.