How I am directly engaging in life will always mean more than any story I tell myself about what happens to me or others.
This came out of a class I attended the other night. A lot of the topic seemed to drift around the recent events in Washington. Discussion around the feelings of anxiety, worry, and anger evolved. I empathized and have much compassion about feelings generated over the past days.
Still, I’m finding a certain beauty in the simple but difficult act of paying attention to exactly where senses are being generated. I have no idea if that’s a Zen or Tao practice but I noticed that where I see, hear, smell, taste, and breathe are all generated from the present moments. And in the present moments of noticing there is nothing going on. Sometimes, in the heat of what’s happening, I check in, slow down, breathe, and look to see exactly where I am and what’s going on. That’s always a huge shift in perception. Because, for the most part, there is absolutely nothing the least bit dramatic going on where I am situated.
Noticing where I am right now cuts off all the dramatic stories about the past and what may possibly happen in the future. And reinforces how, for those moments, there is nothing that prevents me from being Ok. Nothing except the stories and opinions I may generate about the news. Now I know I can’t always stay exactly where I am, the stream of thought has evolved to scan and seek possibility and probability. But I do encourage the act of balancing out between that scanning and letting the opinions, stories, fears, possibilities, freely flow. But also engaging the simple act of returning to exactly where we happen to be in those moments we remember to do so. It’s like a time out to realize I am Ok. No reason not to be.
In that class three people, during the discussion, pointed to exquisite experiences they had by taking the time to notice where they were and engaging with exactly what the senses delivered. How absolutely wonderful.
It’s a bittersweet world, we can’t be human and ignore either one, but we can make sure we don’t live our lives entirely in the bitterness, but balance attention between bitter and sweet, balance between the stream of thought and those moments of attending to our senses. As the Zen saying goes, “This is it!”
Take care of you!
The photo is of a deer from a family that lives in our very suburban neighborhood. They come out of small plots of trees and wander around early in the morning. I am always thrilled to see one! I was lucky to stop the car and get a picture.