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Our ideas about a daily practice can often be an obstacle to practice. We may think that a daily practice must look like our yoga class. Or we must be able to assume a certain posture in order to meditate. We think conditions must be perfect before we start. We need a special space or certain equipment or the right clothes. Expanding beyond our ideas can liberate the impediments to practice.

If nothing else, practice is about change and adaptability. I practice yoga but rarely use a mat. My cushion has been with me for years but I am often meditating without it. What my practice looked like 10 years ago or 5 years ago is vastly different than what it is today. A sense of fluidity and flow is necessary in establishing a practice.

My daily practice has always included some form of work with my body. If I strip my physical practice to its heart what lies within is the practice of meditation. The physical form may vary but the awareness that I bring to that form cultivates practice.

We do not meditate to become good meditators. We meditate so we can show up in our life with the qualities we cultivate in practice. When we cultivate the mind of meditation, this presence and attention naturally spills over from our mat into our life. The parameters of our practice blur. Our practice is no longer strictly defined by the time we spend sitting on a cushion. One of the most important qualities we establish in a daily practice is that of showing up. This is no small feat.

I recently took part in a workshop at the Shambala Center in NYC; Running With the Mind of Meditation.

A group of like-minded souls gathered on a Sunday afternoon. For this brief moment in time we became a small sangha weaving our way through the chaotic streets of Manhattan, running with the mind of meditation. Running has been a practice of mine for 25 years. Most of my running is done alone. Running in community fed my heart, not just as some cardio workout, but through the spark of devotion in every heart I ran with that day.

It was that spark of dedication from each heart that showed up that fed my soul. Each one of us took time out of a Sunday afternoon and made the effort to meet in the heart of the city to run and meditate. We showed up. And that touched my heart.

And that is what a daily practice asks of us. To show up.

To show up when we don’t want to. To show up when we are tired. To show up when we are pissed off. To show up when showing up is the last thing we want to do.

But is this not the same thing that life asks of us? That we must ask of ourselves?

What inspires a daily practice?

Show up and find out.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

If you would like to delve deeper into the art of practice show up for the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe in Montana next summer where Michael Lennox and I are soulfully collaborating to Awaken the Inner Teacher.

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Last week I posted an excerpt from one of my daily practices in A Structure for Spirit on my Facebook page

DAY 24: NEW PATHWAYS

How much of your life has become habit? Where do you feel like you are in a rut? Do you take the same route to work everyday? Do you sit in the same spot to watch TV, eat dinner or work on your laptop? Have you been having the same conversation with someone for years?

Repeating the same patterns over and over not only create ruts in your day, they create ruts in your mind, well-worn grooves that limit your ability to see anything in a new way. Today you will create a new path for yourself. Notice what happens when you change something in a monotonous routine. Change creates an opportunity to see something in a new way. Not only do you create new pathways in your life, you create new pathways in your mind. Neural pathways and connections in your brain are created that were never there before as you break free from habitual patterns and routines. Try turning yourself upside down to get a new perspective! Where can you create a change in your daily routine today and open to the possibilities that change offers?

Running is one of those places in my life where I tend to create well-worn pathways. I find a route that I like and will run that same path over and over again. I like to know where I am going and how long it is going to take for me to get there.

For years I ran through trails in a small nature preserve on Long Island where I used to live. I recently returned to these woods and went for a run. I ran into the woods from a place I had never entered before. A new pathway. I had a chance to take my own medicine.

This new point of entry left me disoriented. It had only been a few months since my last run here but since that time the foliage had changed completely. The recent rains and heavy winds left many trails covered and overgrown. It was as if I had never been there before that is how unfamiliar everything felt. Shit I thought. Will I find my way out? It was already getting late and with the summer nearly over the days light switch was going off much earlier. The last thing I wanted was to be lost in the woods in the dark.

Can you feel the fairies here?

Can you feel the fairies here?

I start running. The rhythmic motion of body and breath over Earth begins to fade away thoughts, as if Pachamama herself beckons them to her belly. I am alone. The silence of the woods is like no other. This silence infuses the space within me. The cadence of breath becomes a meditation. The rhythm of my body a drumbeat on the Earth.

With no spatial reference point time seemed to stretch as if I were passing through a tunnel. Although I am running on trails I have run hundreds of times before I am running not of this time, not of this space. My body is moving over Earth yet I have traveled through time to forests I have known from some other place. Magical forests where fairies live. Forests that feel Scottish or Irish, neither are places I have been to in this life.

Not locked into a specific orientation of space my reference points dismantle. I run over space but through time in a way that transports me to an experience of this land that is of a different dimension. Maybe this is how Alice felt as she fell through the rabbit hole? I am running over space but traveling through time.

So I read this recently in reference to 12-12-12 and the activation of the new grid for the Earth which may speak to this experience…

Our relationship to time and our understanding of time/space locators is being enhanced. I have been told repeatedly lately that the creation of convergence points are living energy fields that are perpetuated with focus–from the unseens and us–in order for us to grow and evolve, amplify and thrive. I see more and more that this explains why things which happen so long ago live on in our experience. I have always known that holographs or fields of energy are amplified and perpetuated by our attention which gives them energy. I just hadn’t applied this to both horizontal and vertical links, connections, counterpoints if you will between all of these experience. Meredith Murphy

A shift in perception that stretches through the fabric of time. All from taking a different path in the woods….and a little help from the cosmos.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

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