Why do I practice? And more specifically: Why do I practice in this Plum Village mindfulness tradition, in all the ways that I do?
Why I do see fit to attend retreats, spend time at Deer Park Monastery, sit for 30-minutes in meditation each morning, show up to my weekly sangha every Monday night, read sutras, chant, and spend hours each week tending to our local and statewide sanghas and mindfulness center’s business turnings? Why do I put so much attention, effort, care, and diligence into developing and strengthening the seeds of mindfulness, joy, ease, liberation, and heartfulness in my daily life?
For me, the spirit of these questions is worth while to to keep alive and answer periodically from time to time.
Right now, here in this moment, I am inspired to answer in two different ways: a practical way and a poetic way.
First, the practical way:
I practice because I feel nourished and supported by my teachers, the dharma, and the sangha. I practice because even when it’s hard, it feels like the right thing to be doing. I practice because I am able to see the fruits that develop and strengthen in my daily life as a result of my efforts, such as growing my capacity for being more kind, caring, present, connected, open, and understanding. I practice because I know life would be hell if I didn’t. I practice in the interest of life being precious and time being short. I practice because I want to help support and care well for others and I see clearly that in order to do that, my own well-being must be continuously maintained and protected. I practice because this tradition brings me to a vibrant, joyful, and grounded frame of mind, body, and heart, over and over again.
And now the poetic response:
I practice for the same reason that the sun rises each day
and the moon cycles itself from new to full
I practice in the very same rhythm and sway
that hinges the oceans to their tides
and newborns to their tribe
I practice in the same spirit that buds look to open
when the depths of winter gives way to spring
I practice with the same imperative that calls
cowboys to drive their cattle home before the snow flies
and hearts to cry in the wake of tragedy
I practice on the same breath that inflates the trees,
stokes the campfire, and eases the suffering of the people
I practice amid the same melody that pulsates the winds
from the ten directions and moves every single blood cell
of every single living breathing being existing on earth
I practice because I am pulled