Category Archives: Presence

NOW!

Today is Wednesday.

Wednesday is like my “Friday.”

I came home from work, took a jog and meditated – relaxing into the thought of my “weekend” ahead. Instead of staying in this NOW moment, my thoughts quickly shifted to Saturday, which is my “Monday,” and what I will have to do when I return to work. Gratefully the next thought that came to me was: “It’s not Saturday yet. It’s Wednesday 7:30pm. Stay in this moment!” I remembered a spiritual guide that I once had who, when I would be fretting about some future task or event, would say: “It’s not here yet. Live this moment.”

How often I live life focused on the next thing instead of this moment. And in so doing, am I really living?

I am convinced that it was my meditation that brought me to this little awareness this evening. Meditation focuses us simply on the NOW. 12 Step Groups often talk about “one day at a time, one moment at a time.” Simply living THIS moment. When an addict is focused on not ever being able to use in the future this hinders recovery. But when an addict focuses on simply not using today, or this moment it, makes recovery much more manageable. In the same way, when I am focused on the future, this hinders living. When I am focused on today, or this moment, life unfolds.

I imagine that my friend who had a stroke right before Christmas and his partner can easily get paralyzed when they begin thinking about the future, when various stages of recovery will come and what will happen in the weeks to come. Sanity or some peace of mind must come from simply focusing on today’s progress, instead of a whirl of thoughts about the future. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for them at times! I know how very much and how very quickly I want to see my friend recover. I can’ only imagine how much more they want the same. I will pray that, with a focus on today’s progress, life will unfold for them in good and positive ways, as indeed it already has these past 12 days!


Presence: Getting Connected

Presence:  Getting Connected

Ever wonder if you were on the right path?  Ever feel like you’re off the path?  I know when I feel off the path.  It’s in those times that I need to pause and take time to be still, to get connected again.  If I am not taking that time, the teacher seems to disappear.  When I do take the time, the teacher appears.  Almost by instinct I begin to know what to do, which way to go and life begins to take on meaning again.

It’s like life with a Partner.  Life goes on, we get distracted by daily, mundane tasks and one day goes on the next.  If we don’t intentionally take time to communicate or simply be present to our Partner, the relationship gets disconnected, not only for our Partner, but something within ourselves just isn’t quite right.  When we take the time to communicate and be present, the path reveals itself and life deepens.

“With your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:  ‘This is the way.  Walk in it.’”  (See Isaiah 30: 19-21, 23-26)

Feeling disconnected?  Sometimes just taking some time to simply be present to God and/or others makes a big difference.  And remember, even when we take time to be present, it doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily going to “feel” connected right away.  The important thing is that we take the time to be present.  Period.

Perhaps the best present we could give ourselves and others is presence.


Analyzing to Death

I was listening to a talk this morning given by Ekhart Tolle.  In it, he mentioned something interesting.  He was talking about the ego mind that most of us live in without even realizing it.  The ego mind is always judging and analyzing things and always reaching out for more.  What struck me is when he said that in order to analyze something we have to kill it, or it is killed in the process of analyzing.

Isn’t that true?  When we are constantly analyzing ourselves, our partners, our co-workers or even God we kill the experience of simply being with ourselves, our partners, co-workers or God.  Instead of living and experiencing the grace of life, we get trapped in our minds and end up extinguishing all that Life has to offer.  When we think about what love is, instead of simply reaching out and experiencing it, we miss the point.  When we think about God or reach for the next “spiritual” experience, we miss the peace of simply experiencing the Eternal Presence within us and everything around us at this moment.

Can I get out of my head today and simply be present to myself, to my partner, God and all that is.  I was going to say can I “try” to be present; but trying connotes further striving, reaching and grasping, instead of simply being present.  Instead of analyzing today, try to simply listen and be present.


I’m Sleeping With Two People!

As I arrive home from my time of retreat I am hyper conscious of my return to what at times seems like the “rat race” of life, the day to dayness that is the normal course of my exterior environment.  I quickly loose consciousness of the present moment and, in this case, wish I was back at the Hermitage.  The challenge is to create hermitage in my present space, right here, in this time.  And it is only in being fully present to this moment that any needed change in exterior environment will reveal itself.  In becoming present, an inner space opens up within – no matter what is going on around me.  A challenge indeed, but if we keep becoming conscious of it, slowly our moments of presence will increase.  The problem is, many of us, including myself, are constantly bothered with thoughts the emanate from the past or concern for our future.

Do you ever find yourself thinking about that past or the future and seemingly unable to stop thinking about them?  I think many of us live in a constant state of past or future, which keeps us in a perennial state of regret, worry, or anxious anticipation.  (Again see Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now)

A priest recently told me that, while giving a conference on spirituality, which included Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Jews,  he told them at one point that he had a confession to make.  He said that he was sleeping with a man and a woman every night.  They were shocked, to say the least!  If that wasn’t enough, he went on to say that every night at around 2:00am the man and woman wake him up and want to have intercourse and that this was beginning to really bother him.  Now they were really shocked!  He then said that the people he was sleeping with are called Past and Future. They were really beginning to piss him off by keeping him up at night with their constant chatter and concern. . . .  He definitely made his point!

Ever feel that way?  Are you sleeping with anyone these days?

Only becoming present to THIS moment can we kick these less than attractive bedfellows out!  And when we do, we’ll probably sleep a lot better and see to our future a lot more clearly!


The Secret to Happiness

It is precisely in being present to what we’re doing that we discover happiness.

Unhappiness and frustration emanate when we look to something or someone outside of ourselves to make us happy.

Eckhart Tolle, in his book A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose says this. Our purpose in life is ultimately to become present to what we’re doing, to bring consciousness to the world and in so doing we will be joyful. Period! Sounds simple doesn’t it? But just try being fully present to the moment and what you’re doing in that moment without your mind (ego) racing on about what’s happening next, 3 days from now and what happened yesterday! We’ll find it’s not that easy! But I believe he’s got a point. I like his twist on what it is to be joyful and how we discover happiness. Many of us get it backwards and as a result we end up in a consistent state of unhappiness and frustration. Tolle says this:

“When you say, I enjoy doing this or that, it is really a misperception. It makes it appear that the joy comes from what you do, but that is not the case. Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into the world from deep within you. The misperception that joy comes from what you do is normal, and it is also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else, such as an activity or thing. You then look to the world to bring you joy, happiness. But it cannot do that. This is why many people live in constant frustration. The world is not giving them what they think they need” (Eckhart Tollo A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose, p.298). He goes on to say that when we simply become present to what we’re doing we will gradually find that we are more joyful.

Perhaps this is what the Christ spoke of when he spoke of the “kingdom” being in our midst, right here, right now! Perhaps this is what he meant when he said “I have told you these things that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15: 11). Perhaps that’s what he meant when he told us that we will find ourselves if we forget ourselves (the ego mind).

Perhaps today we could continue the process of attempting to simply be present to what we’re doing in this moment – and see what happens!


Songs of Vibrant Living

Songs of Vibrant Living

After a seemingly disastrous meditation session yesterday morning, where my mind kept whirling about the various tasks I had to accomplish that day, I made an effort at simply being present to what I was doing. And you know what? . . . I ended up accomplishing more than I had set out to do that day, AND when I stopped rushing and thinking about the next task, I began to enjoy what I was doing. The day was transformed from being a rushed jumble of activity to a day well lived – filled with a sense of being alive, instead of merely existing and watching time pass.

Some years ago I wrote a poem called “Songs of Vibrant Living,” which speaks to this sense of being present to life, amidst its busyness. I would like to share that poem with you. Try to stay present today and see what happens.

 Enfolded by evening and the echo of the loon

     The stars, radiant and still –

     Teaching grandeur and humility at once –

     Inspire awe.

 

The dawn of light upon silver waters

     The air still

     Spirited creatures of earth quietly fill the space with

     Songs of vibrant living

All a hymn to the desire of my heart

Stillness gives birth to life.

 

To the Great and Awesome Mystery

     That in stillness gave spark to living

The dim flame of my being, seeking new breath,

      Ascends in its desire . . .

In daily chaos from within and without

     Unfold the path of stillness

     Dawn’s light

     Songs of Vibrant Living

 

 

 

 

 


Hurrying Up To Slow Down

As I sat meditating this morning my thoughts couldn’t stay off the day and what was to come; working at home for my job, exercising, some laundry, cutting the grass, cleaning the house.  I could not stay present to silence. I could not stay PRESENT, and that was the problem.

How often I race through what I’m doing in order to get to a point of relaxation and peace.  It’s like I hurry up to slow down!  When I do this, I am not present to what I am doing.  Ironically the slowing down doesn’t happen when I have time to relax, it happens when I am able to be present to what I am doing at this moment without thinking of all that is to come.  There is a stillness of being that is brought to my “doing” when I am simply present to what I am doing.  My day to day living is then transformed from a hurried rush to an experience of living that is a bit more full and rich.  Isn’t it interesting that we run, run, run and then plan a vacation; and then even our vacations become a hurried rush of activity and seem like they’re over in a flash!  Being present to what I am doing right now is like bringing a little vacation to my everyday life.

Remember the long days of summer when you were a kid?  Perhaps they seemed so long because we were a bit more present to what we were doing and not so much focused on the future!  Try to stay present to what you’re doing today, without getting distracted by all that is to be done.