I begin my talks and writings with the word “so.” To me it indicates that I am continuing an ongoing thought. We are never at the beginning, and we are never at the end. We just are where we are. and so, here we are.
when we think we are someplace other than where we are, we are not being honest with ourselves. We are, of course, where we are. But what defines that? Are we where we are in time and space? Right here, right now? Well, I suppose we are just that in physical form. Except that as I continue my practice I see my body become somehow smaller and beginning to become translucent. That is surely a vision. or is it?
where are we, anyway?
But we are also where our mind takes us. Our thoughts transport us to other places, other times, and sometimes to other dimensions of consciousness. This is why most meditation classes and apps aim beginners to a practice of following the breath. Breathing in and out, while noticing the breath going in and out, and only noticing that, is the preferred method. And it is a quick way to understand the difference between ‘i am here’ and ‘i am there.’ When thoughts arise and distract us from our breathing, we are clearly ‘there.’ When we return to the breath, we are ‘here.’
But this is very simplistic. concentrating on the breath is still limiting; one is not really ‘here’ if one is ignoring all that is around. So how do we be here, now?
Well, they say that the spirit quest is a practice, an art. We practice following the breath. We practice noticing stray thoughts. We notice when we start projecting into the future, or reliving the past. And then..
we allow all of it. The true observer of life recognizes the usefulness of planning and past analysis. At the same time, the true observer understands that our art is in the crafting of the moment. We don’t project into the future to be afraid. Instead we go deep into the present, and reach into ourselves to understand what we can do today, and what is wasted effort.
what do you mean?
as an example, I can notice in the moment that we are running low of milk. But what do I know do with that thought? Do I think about going to the store, and planning when, and vowing to remember that I need milk. Every time I open the fridge, oh right, I need milk! Or do I keep a shopping list. In the moment, I understand I need milk. I put it on the list and no longer need to project into the future whether or not I need milk. I will simply get milk when I take the list to the store.
similarly, do I obsess over the conversation that went badly at my last meeting? or do I recall what I observed then, and invest in the moment right now about my feelings about that interaction. I quickly sense that I took a mis-step, or if I was above board.
in either case, the next question is critical: what can I do now to honor the situation that I find myself in. for the milk situation, I decided that I should write ‘milk’ on the list. in the conversation issue, I decided that I was not ‘showing up’ with love, rather I was presenting with fear and anger. and so what, right now, can I do? I can decide to be more loving, and less fearful. and then, honoring the present moment, I work on that in the moment.
and here we are..
this is practical. it clears the clutter of anxiety. it allows us to stop obsessing on our next move. when we pay attention to where we are now, as the most important thing in every moment, then we can use the future and the past to inform our actions in the present. and so, I will live now with the confidence that there will indeed be milk in our house soon. I also know that I am amplifying my compassionate, loving self. Now, when I am faced with a challenging situation, I might show up in that moment, with more practice, and less reactivity.
may it be so for all who desire..