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Practice, practice, practice

Wer Menschen sucht, wird Akrobaten finden.​    

– Peter Sloterdijk, Du mußt dein Leben ändern

In focusing on the practicing aspect of human existence, I am taking account of a fact that is apparently trivial but whose effects are unpredictably far-reaching: the fact that everything people do and can do is achieved more or less well and done better or worse. Adepts and players are constantly involved in a spontaneous better-or-worse ranking of their skills and actions. I define these kinds of distinctions as an expression of the vertical tension inherent in human existence. The technical definition of practice I have posited opens up a first approach to the phenomenon of involuntary verticality. In every performance of practicing, an action is carried out in such a way that its present execution co-conditions its later execution. We could say that all life is acrobatics, although we perceive only the smallest part of our vital expressions as what they really are: the results of practice and elements of a modus vivendi that happens on the high wire of improbability.

– Peter Sloterdijk, The Art of Philosophy

Science as practice

How do our views of what-meditation-is shape and limit our meditation research? 

How do our views of what-psychotherapy-is shape and limit our psychotherapy research?

Just as the history of science usually presumes that the scientists who do their disciplines already exist, the history of art has assumed since time immemorial that artists are the natural protagonists of the business that produces works of art, and that these players have always existed as well. What would happen if we rotated the conceptual stage ninety degrees in both cases? What would happen if we observed artists in their efforts to become artists in the first place? We could then see every phenomenon on this field more or less from a side view and, alongside the familiar history of art as a history of completed works, we could obtain a history of the training that made it possible to do art and the asceticism that shaped artists.

– Peter Sloterdijk, The Art of Philosophy

Meditation as practice

I have maintained a regular meditation practice for 14 years and spent 2 years on silent retreats. The frameworks that I have found most helpful are Rob Burbea's teachings on emptiness (Seeing That Frees) and his approach to cultivating samadhi (Practising the Jhanas). In this talk, I attempt to offer a brief introduction to the core concepts of Seeing That Frees, namely 'ways of looking' and 'fabrication'. I also feel inspired by different streams of non-dual practice.


Whenever there is any experience at all, there is always some fabricating, which is a kind of ‘doing’. And as an element of this fabricating, there is always a way of looking too. We construct, through our way of looking, what we experience. This is a part of what needs eventually to be recognized and fully comprehended. Sooner or later we come to realize that perhaps the most fundamental, and most fundamentally important, fact about any experience is that it depends on the way of looking. That is to say, it is empty.

– Rob Burbea, Seeing That Frees

‘All exists’: Kaccāna, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathāgata teaches the Dhamma by the middle.    

– Samyutta Nikāya 12:15

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