The Gift of Practice
“When thought races ahead of Being, a civilization is racing toward destruction.” – Jacob Needleman from “What is God”
I would like to write today about who we are, where we are, what we are.
Last night, the Philosopher spoke to the jam packed space of the venerable bookstore, soft voice rising just enough to be heard. Standing behind him, for there was no other room, I listened. His voice and being were invitations to Practice, so I did. I’ve sat with him before, in just this way, in small groups in a living room, listening to his voice, letting it take us somewhere within. Last night, I was standing. Aware of my feet growing weary on the wood floor, of my body needing subtle shifts of stance, of the energy flowing around my body, of my mind’s wish to simultaneously listen and begin to wander. I took firm hold and paid attention. Was in attention, at attention… was attention.
By the end of the evening, my body was filled with energy and focus. I felt grateful to the Philosopher, for his words and presence as much as his reminder, for I know he has practiced every day for at least 50 years. I know he has struggled. I know he has also sat with joy.
When we choose to show up, when we choose to commit, when we choose to step forward, when we choose to dive within, when we choose to practice, we help everyone around us. We re-member. Who we are, where we are, and what we are become a contiguous whole in those moments, no longer things at war. You’ve heard about “soul retrieval”? This sort of attention calls everything back. We gather our pieces and begin to truly build a soul. Begin to build a person who knows herself.
We come closer into Being. What a gift.