Today I woke up an hour before my alarm, feeling tired but unable to sleep more. I went to the kitchen to get myself a sandwich, but there was no bread left. I wanted to do a meditation in peace and quiet, but the neighbors decided at that moment to start making a lot of noise. I wanted to have a relaxing bike trip to my work, but I had a heavy headwind and an unattentive chauffeur almost drove into me. And so the day went past… A day went past without presence.
Sounds like a pretty sucky day all in all, right?
Let’s try that again. And try paying attention to how you feel while reading this.
Today I woke up and it’s an hour before my alarm. I witness a feeling of tiredness in my mind. Outside some birds are celebrating the opening of the day. I observed a feeling of hunger in my body, and feel drawn to look for food. I feel the cold floor under my feet as I walk there. In the kitchen I find no bread. I let go of the idea of a sandwich and eat a banana instead. I feel a peacefulness in my body, and want to honor this with the caring attention of a meditation. The sounds stress the stillness in between like nothing else. After the meditation I get up with the intention to bike to my work. The sound of the wind past my ears fills my surroundings. I notice how a chauffeur crosses my path, so I slow down and steer clear of the car. And so the day continues to be…
Did that feel different? It sure does to me.
“Which day is it?” said Winnie. “It is today”, said Piglet. “That is my favourite day” said Winnie.– Winnie-the-Pooh
“You should try to be in there here and now” is a cliché. We cannot be there and then. We cannot be in this other time and place, because the past and the future do not exist. We are already in the present moment, so how could this other time and place exist simultaneously?
The only sense in which the past and future have any credence, any meaning at all, is in their relation to the now. They borrow their meaning from their weak relation to the current moment. But because they borrow their meaning from the now, they lose the little meaning that they carry if we are too occupied with the past and future to enjoy the now.
The question “how are you now” is a formality, often unanswered. We quickly move on to asking each other “how was your meeting yesterday?” or “what are your plans tomorrow?”.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
Many people experience their lives in a very compartmentalized way. In some moments we work or study, and there are other moments of ‘free time’. We do our work or study, and once we are done we allow ourselves to enjoy the rest of the day ‘off’. Why don’t we choose to enjoy the whole day through, every moment of it?
In Buddhism it is said that all of our suffering comes forth from an inability to accept what is, in this moment. To experience deep joy and bliss, all we need to do is to simply being with that what is. Sounds pretty straight forward right?
Let us make a point out of nurturing ourselves in the healing experience of the present moment. And we do so by practicing a deep connection with our physical body. By being ‘grounded’. The present moment is the domain of the bodily, sensuous experience. And this will be the topic for our next blog.