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Seated Practice and Integration

Smiling on the Street
Episode No. 116

Spiritual practice shouldn’t stay on the cushion. What does it mean to integrate your practice with your entire life? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

First Words from Podcast

There’s been a request for me tonight to talk about the relationship between seated practice and integrated practice. Seated practice is of course stuff we do while sitting somewhere. Usually in our tradition we sit on a cushion in front of an altar, or somewhere in a special practice space. Seated practice includes all the kinds of things we do like mantra, meditation, kriya yoga, and those kinds of practices.

And then integrated practice is everything else. In fact, even seated practice can be integrated practice depending on what’s going on. You might have to integrate with noise on the street, or less than ideal conditions in your practice space or your mind!

Very simply, integration means bringing the state of your practice into every activity. Our goal as practitioners is of course not to feel one way on a meditation cushion and then feel our normal tensions everywhere else. If that was the case, no one would continue this practice! Our goal is actually to discover reality, or you could say to discover our real nature. We can talk about that in many different ways.

Every practice that we do—whether it’s puja, hatha yoga, ayurveda, mantra, kriya yoga, guru yoga, or meditation—every practice has exactly the same eventual fruit: we recognize and begin to be able to directly explore what I call living presence.

Living presence is a quality of alive awareness that is pervasive everywhere. It has virtues such as curiosity, intelligence, and compassion, among others. Living presence is wisdom itself.