A common strategy for many of us in everyday life is to keep our emotions veiled, private even to ourselves. As explorers, we dig in. We create the conditions for feelings to emerge, by aligning our hearts and minds to what beats through us. With practice, we thread the arrow of our attention into that place where all maps meet: our living heart, and the river that rushes through it.
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By Kevin Lacroix
In putting the Art before the Artist, Art becomes something that happens through us, rather than from us. And then role of the ‘Artist’ becomes, perhaps, to merely get out of the way, making ourselves available to be used by muse, genius, daemon… by Art, manifesting something unique that illuminates true nature for the benefit of all beings.
Suddenly, we exist. Existing is complicated. We turn to practice. As we love to say at the CEC, being human takes practice. But what is a practice? The simplest definition of practice is some action – mental, emotional, physical, social – that you choose and repeat, so that it can become a habit. It is the deliberate cultivation of habits. Contemplative practices are practices that rehearse how you want to exist and relate to yourself and others.
In practice we have the opportunity to explore what works for each of us as individuals to build and stabilize concentration in practice and in life. Do you get fascinated by the whole forest of experience, or absorbed by the minutia of a single tree? Do you prefer to focus on the deep places inside yourself, or fix your gaze on a flickering flame, tune your ear to the birdsong outside? What are you interested in, pleased by, served by? Follow that. It’s hard to get any kind of traction in meditation without concentration of some kind, so let’s focus, people!
We practice letting go so there’s room enough for what matters most. In our CEC hive-mind, letting go forms an essential part of a practice, a necessary antipode to the striving, the claiming, the aspirational special states like the one where you might glimpse, just briefly, if you stare into a bright light long enough, a universe kept afoot by a platoon of microscopic capuchin monkeys.