Practice and Freedom
To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things - Zen Master Dogen
At some point along the way, human beings may get the sense that there is this possibility of greater freedom, of realising and being in tune with something which is much greater than our small, limited sense of identity.
This sense of limited, fixed identity, while necessary in many ways to function in the world, is the cause of much of the fear, pain and stress we encounter every day.
Modern society has got us so exclusively fixated on this limited separate sense of self, bombarding our subconscious with powerful messages of needing to improve and fix ourselves in a million ways. This sense of limited identity can also cause a lot of feelings of self doubt and of not being good enough.
While practice can be used on this mission to "improve ourselves" or "be ourselves", the deep essence of practice is to come and study the self and its composition until our identity is no longer fixed and so constrained.
In the beginning of our journey, these glimpses of freedom may have a dependence on our cushion or mat, but as our practice starts to mature and deepen, every single moment of our life is seen as an opportunity for the practice of freedom.