presence

Into the Unknown

This is where all growth occurs

Evolution happens. We are going to grow. Our level of willingness to embrace this fact can create an atmosphere of resistance and fear, or of ease. The choice is always ours.

A life changing event, such as a move, can generate stress and anxiety in some individuals. It can create an overwhelming reaction of panic when one sees the coming logistics and required number of tasks as a monolithic block, impossible to tackle. This is obviously not the most effective approach to take.

An easier and more accurate view of the event is to a series of smaller, more manageable tasks that are performed in the now, without struggling with the overview. One can use knowledge of the "bigger picture" to keep oneself on track, but each sub-task is much more enjoyable when full attention and presence is devoted to it. The work gets done more completely, more easily, without fretting over speculation and self-recrimination.

How is this presence possible? We meditate regularly. We spend our time in positive action rather than getting mired in speculative fantasy. It is possible to enjoy even the most seemingly mundane task when we perform it with full commitment and deliberation.

The joy of work well done is nature's gift to us, and our gift to the world and ourselves.

When you are present without the conditioning of your past you become the presence of God.
-Eckhart Tolle

Entertainment and escapism

Rogue Valley sunrise, fire season, Oregon.

Rogue Valley sunrise, fire season, Oregon.

Leaving the now

I pitched my television set into the dumpster a few years ago. Actually I sent it to an electronics recycle center. I tried to gift it, but after canvassing friends and acquaintances, I discovered I could not give it away-- too old, not HD, not flat screen.
 
After reflection, I had to admit that TV fed into my addictive personality. Here I was, sitting in a chair. But my ego told me that I was traversing great distances, going to exotic places, having passionate adventures. I was alone, but TV and my ego conspired to convince me that I had friends, that talk show hosts knew me, that scantily clad singers found me attractive and wanted to sing just to me. I was sedentary, but I was hypnotized into believing that I was an amazing athlete, playing basketball and football, winning tennis and volleyball tournaments, even riding the Tour de France. In reality my bicycle sat dusty in the living room. I was just a guy in a chair.
 
Before there was TV, there was radio. Before that, cheap literature. After TV, we have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All of these are manifestations of a worldwide disease (centered in the West) that I call THE BIG TIME SUCK.
 
It is as though we have an inexhaustible supply of this thing called time, and we can afford to throw a lot of it away.
 
It is not a moral failing to be at any stage of self-realization. I now find that I no longer want to squander that which has now become precious to me. As exciting as the Tour de France might be, I would rather be pedaling myself up Laurel Canyon Boulevard, breathing bus fumes and dodging hostile and inattentive drivers. At least I will end the ride with an endorphin rush and pleasantly sore muscles; I will have gotten exercise and had the experience of being in my body, in the now.
 
I realized recently that social media was creating the same time suck in the moments of my day. It was stealing time from serious study of the Veda, from practicing my instrument, from gardening, from exercise, from work, from love.
 
My meditation practice has given me the gift of being centered in the now, and I become more easily aware of when I am not present. I can keep that “time traveling” to a minimum and get back where I belong.
 
In the now.

The Power of Now is a book by Eckhart Tolle. I have found it to be an invaluable tool in the search for greater self awareness. Although not a follower of the Vedic tradition, Eckhart is a beautifully enlightened being whose journey towards fulfillment is lovingly detailed, and his concepts have become a part of my daily life.