21 Nov Being Present – November 22 2019
4544 Ethel Ave. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
Thich Nhat Hanh,
Peace Is Every Step:
The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
What do we mean when we ask ourselves to be present? Can we actually be anywhere other than in the present? Not really. We always are present in both the here and the now. But in our mind we can dwell in the past or in some version of the future. So when we say we wish to be present, we are speaking about our mind and about having our mind in the same time/space as our body.
To be anywhere other than here and now in this moment is to be in speculation. In our practice we say, simply, stay out of speculation. Get present. Come to your senses. Literally. What are my senses telling me right now, in this moment?
- What am I seeing? The colors, the shapes, the forms, the shadow and light. Movement.
- What am I hearing? The hum of the fan, murmured conversations from the hall, distant traffic.
- What am I smelling? Someone’s cologne, the incense from today’s puja, the dog.
- What am I tasting? Toothpaste, tea, cracker, banana.
- What am I feeling? My bottom against the chair, the shirt on the skin of my arms, one leg crossed over the other, the breeze on my cheek.
Come to your senses. It takes all of about half a minute. And then I am here and now. Completely.
We get present to the information of our senses. As often as we need to. Until living in our senses (rather than in our speculating mind) becomes our new habit.
Speculation leads only to suffering. Present moment awareness offers the possibility for joy.
Today I will set a timer on my phone for every 30 minutes, and when it chimes, I will become present – walking through my five senses, letting go of speculation, taking a breath, being here, now.