A Living Practice

From Brad Stulberg

Knowing what matters most to you and having the courage to pursue it is a good start, but it’s not enough. You’ve got to act on those values over and over again. In the words of philosopher Terry Patten, you’ve got to “make a practice” out of living.

In his latest book, A New Republic of the Heart, Patten writes that life satisfaction is a byproduct of transitioning from being a seeker, or someone who wants a certain lifestyle, to a practitioner, or someone who lives that lifestyle day in and day out. “Practice,” Patten writes, “is about waking up again and again, and choosing to show up in life in alignment with one’s highest intelligence,” or what matters most.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. “A whole life of regular, ongoing practice is necessary,” writes Patten. “We are always reinforcing the neural circuits associated with what we are doing. Whatever way we are being, we’re more likely to be that way in the future. This means we are always practicing something.” It behooves us to live more and more of our lives taking actions that are in alignment with our core values—to make a practice out of living.