October 09, 2009

Practice is not something we do; it is something we are

Our lives, like the ocean, constantly change, and we will naturally face great storms and dreary lulls. How, then, to put our minds in a space where practice is always there, whether tumultuous or in the doldrums? It requires a completely radical view of practice: practice is not something we do; it is something we are. We are not separate from our practice, and so no matter what, our practice is present. An ocean swimmer is loose and flows with the current and moves through the tide. When tossed upside-down in the surf, unable to discern which way is up and which is down, the natural swimmer just lets go, breathing out, and follows the bubbles to the surface.

–Sensei Pat Enkyo O'Hara, from “Like a Dragon in Water,” Tricycle, Summer 2002

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[...] Tricycle » Practice is not something we do; it is something we are (tags: mindfulness meditation zen)   [...]

alan's picture

Swimming is a skill. It needs to be developed, and takes time. Flow with the current all you want: a rip will still take you out. There are no natural swimmers, at least not in human form, and your practice is not your life.

Nancy's picture

Thank you. You have put my practice and my daily life back into per-
spective for me. I truly AM my practice, and it IS me.

alan's picture

That is a good way to drown.