I’m sitting in our little studio and thinking about how to start this article about “being (in) the present moment”. Just a couple days ago we finished another retreat, so now it is easier than usual for me to just close my eyes and reconnect with “now”… but to describe it in words? Well, that’s a tricky one!
My hands are resting on a desktop, waiting for some first inspirations to be registered… Through the window nearby my desk I have an open view at the terrace where the owner of the house is repairing old window frames.
I am secretly watching him. His eyes are following each move of the brush slowly painting the surface of the wood. Face is relaxed. Body movements are precisely flowing… he is fully into what he is doing… as if he’d became one with it.
Being fully present with what we are doing is a highway into meditation. And we all have this ability, it’s just that somewhere on our way we learned rushing. We try to do ten things at once… and while doing one thing we’re already thinking about the next. And this causes stress and an urge. “We have no time to be in this time anymore”.
Get the starting cables!
But this urge eventually becomes uncomfortable and we feel like we need some grounding. So we park ourselves in our best meditation posture on our living room carpet, full of good intentions to re-establish peace in our inner kingdom… and guess what?
It is not easy!
We have a hard time while trying to meditate in stillness or, as zen masters say, while “carrying water and chopping wood” (aka meditate even while doing simple daily tasks).
So what to do with that? We might use some “starting cables” which would give our inner vehicle a good juicy starting kick.
You don’t do it, you ARE it.
From “doing” or “becoming” you arrive to: “Being.”
What works for many are active/working meditations or conscious movement. They use movement or tasks as a gate to enter into now.
While shaking, nothing else exists, you BECOME SHAKING itself… while dancing, you BECOME THE DANCE… or while peeling potatoes for 20 people…yes, you become THE PEELING PROCESS itself (here I’d state that 20 might be “a portion” suitable for more advanced meditators/peelers 🙂 ).
The idea is that you become total in the process. So much, that you are not DOING it anymore – at the peak of this experience you notice that you don’t even need to BECOME it – because you already ARE it, you’ve always been. It is a space where there is no ego, it is a space of natural flow. It is your real home.
Once you’ve been there, it gets easier…
Once re-entering into this state, you naturally remember how it feels to be fully present. And then it is much easier to bring this ability even into our basic daily tasks. Then you’ll be able to be present even while just breathing or hanging laundry outside and smelling the wind carrying the scent of fresh washing.
I remember one sannyasin, an old and disabled man, whose body indisposition did not allow him to do much. One of the few things which he was left able to do was sweeping up leaves. So the whole day he would sweep one leaf after another creating little piles around the garden. He was absolutely fully into that. In those times, I was secretly thinking something about old crazy dude.., but today I remember him with respect – he knew. He was a great meditator.
Peace in simplicity
My awareness is back in our studio. I’m noticing my fingers dancing over the keyboard while writing this sudden flow of inspiration and from time to time my eyes wander outside, where the man is slowly finishing his work.
There is a certain peacefulness in him as well as around him. A warm gentle wind is drying the paint, the sun is slowly setting and in a wee while we’ll call it a day. On my way home I walk slowly, enjoying the simplicity and the peace of being fully present… “making some time to be in this time”.