I have several posts in progress about daily practices . . . which compels the question, what exactly is a practice?
What defines a practice?
For me it’s those activities I engage in with deliberation. Daily. So sex is out of consideration. In my twenties and thirties it could have been considered a daily practice. A sole practice. Not now. (Weep not for me, I had twenty good years.)
What does engaging deliberately mean? Before I gave up Mountain Dew at the beginning of this year, I engaged in it daily. It can hardly be said I engaged in it consciously. Though many were the times of conscious enjoyment — the way some people take tea — most often it was demi-conscious at best, which is the way of any vice with a grip on your psyche.
A practice signifies awareness. Not so with the Dew.
A practice implies growth. As when one practices piano. Or compassion.
A practice also compels a deepening. Your relationship with what you practice deepens with your practice. The way a yoga practice deepens through daily commitment. The way a prayer practice deepens your connection with the divine.
In contemporary understanding a practice also has a spiritual component built in. We only refer to having a practice if it feeds our soul.
In this way one may have a meditation practice but not a nose-picking practice, no matter how often one undertakes that activity. Our nine-year old might be dismayed to hear this.
- A deepening of the experience
There you have it — six elements of a practice.
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