What is a practice? and why do it?
There are many dynamics and forces that govern our existence. Many terms has been used to try and find the ability to relate or explain these phenomena. To mention just a few, there are: "creative" and "destructive" forces, which can also be loosely related to "expansion" and "contraction"... which is also linked to "yin" and "yang", "cosmic" and "earth", "feminine" and "masculine", "mother and "father" and off course "sun" and "moon".
As an average human being on planet earth, we are not always conscious of the impact these forces and dynamics have on our behaviour, emotions, communication or decision making abilities, but whether we are conscious or not... they still exist... and they do affect us. Now, you may feel life none of these unobservable things has any impact on you, but is this the same view of your partner or colleagues when asked about some of your reactions during stressful times?
There are many practices to help us find some form of balance amidst this seemingly chaotic and constant activity within and around us. Whether you choose to focus on your breath, a candle, music, movement or just the stillness of the moment, any practice is better than no practice.
What is a practice? Well, in the same way you don't just learn a language over night, or run a marathon without any preparation.. the premise of a practice is exactly that; we learn how to respond to the chaotic energies within and around us by practicing to focus our minds and awareness on what is beyond that. Finding the focus, clarity and stability in every moment, no matter how much noise we experience, internally or externally.
Through a practice we allow ourselves a moment of introspection where we have the opportunity to connect to the deeper aspects of ourselves that we are not always in touch with. This process may bring more awareness into the duality or conflicts of the mind, some of the traumas that are stored in the physical body, or bring us back to our connection to the natural joy and peace that also exists in every moment.
There are many tools and practices out there from various wisdom traditions, lineages, as well as non lineages, but in my opinion, the ability to learn the art of observation is the most profound and effective practice, independent of our level of experience. It is ultimately the state of neutrality and observation that allows us to be fully present in each moment in order to experience the biggest gift life has to offer: the present moment.