Taigen Dan Leighton described the various aspects of our practice as ritual enactment and expression.
It isn’t moving slowly towards the Buddha, a speck in the ghost cave of the future. It is the living activity of Buddha now. It isn’t forming the thought of gratitude, and then giving form to that thought in the symbolism of bowing. No.
Awake-awareness, compassion, gratitude, generosity: they are not qualities of the self. They are pillars holding up the roof of the world.