When you narrow your focus each step becomes clear. Take a look around at the here and now apart from your story about it, and find that it writes itself. All you have to do is read.
When I find myself waiting for the present moment to be a certain way I think of all of the wisdom teachers throughout history in their infinite peace and joy. I remember that the moment in which they experienced the profundity of existence in such magnitude is the exact same moment I am experiencing right now. They are all pointing us toward the present, which regardless of form is the birthplace of all enlightenment, if only you let it be.
When I’m feeling weighed down by tasks and obligations all of the spiritual texts in the world won’t make me feel balanced or peaceful. In this state even a spiritual practice can turn into another box to check off on a never-ending “to-do” list.
When you start to feel like you’re in a race and you just can’t keep up, stop. Stop right where you are, have a seat, and ask yourself, “What did I learn?” You might get an answer, or you might get silence. Either way, you stepped off the treadmill of time onto the solid foundation of the now.
Tonight I stopped to ask myself that question and got 3 easy answers that make being a human a lot less difficult:
1. Relish the accomplishments of others. They are your own.
2. If you’re having a bad day and something makes you smile or laugh, let your mood change.
3. Planning to do many things can lead to stagnation and feeling overwhelmed. Instead choose to do one thing, and only when it is over think of another thing to do.
Today I had the great pleasure of visiting the DMV for the first time since I had my license renewed five years ago. Everything really had been going smoothly until I was called up to take my new license picture.
I looked at the blue dot and smiled. A few seconds after sitting down in the waiting area the man who had taken my picture called out to me saying, “One of your eyes was closed in the picture.” I stood up to retake the picture when he said, “You can’t retake it, it says right here all you need is one eye to be open for a valid picture. Just don’t do that while you’re driving.”
I sat back down in utter defeat. My brow furrowed, all I could think about were the looks on the faces of all the people who I would have to hand my license to. I looked as if I was about to cry.
A couple of minutes passed and my license finished printing. I walked up to the counter, and the man handed me my license with a big grin on his face. The joke was on me. He was kidding. The picture was just fine, and I laughed out loud.
Life had caught me taking it too seriously. Getting upset about a bad license picture, really? Getting upset about the prospect of a bad picture on your license is like getting upset about the prospect of having to listen to smooth jazz during call waiting. It will probably happen, and it can do nothing to hurt you. And sometimes, as in my case, you get a mixed message about a situation, when everything is fine all along. Either way, make sure to laugh about it.
I do not perceive my own best interest. This notion use to torment me. When I first began to see that every small action on my part had a ripple effect, beyond anything I could conceive of, I became worried and unsure of myself.
On a small scale this looks like not being sure which plans to commit to this weekend because it isn’t yet clear what will end up being the most enjoyable option. On a larger scale this looks like questioning the motives behind a chosen career path, or not being sure if you should commit to a relationship.
What I hadn’t perceived after experiencing an awareness of the infinite effects of my small choices was what those consequences meant for my true best interest. After a little bit of living it becomes clear that things that are bad at one time can turn out to have positive outcomes, just as something that was first good news can turn into suffering later on. But at a higher vantage point whatever journey the ripple of each action takes there is with it the movement of your highest potential unearthing itself through the inner erosion that takes place one situation after another.
According to A Course In Miracles understanding that you don’t perceive your best interest is an essential step in allowing miracles to occur. Without this internal judgment of external situations your every moment can transform into the shape it was meant to realize, and with it enact your own best interest.
Do you ever feel restless, like you are just waiting for some type of change to happen? Do you ever feel like you want to do something more meaningful with your life or just want to feel differently than you do now?
If so, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not alone! The feeling of being disconnected, or just the slight sensation that not everything is as it should be, is a universal human experience. The bad news is, there is nothing you can do to fix it. Even if some exciting event were to take place in your life, afterwards you would just be back in the old familiar waiting stage.
The amount of time spent experiencing those pivotal life moments that are tangible and obvious pales in comparison to the waiting period. There is more good news of course! You can stop waiting. To the mind that would seem an impossible task. After all, it has so many thoughts about the future that it is waiting for, a future that will never come, because when it does it will no longer be the future, it will be the purgatory of the present. That is the mind’s view of life.
To stop waiting means to stop asking your mind for permission to experience the reality of your present moment. To stop waiting means to allow yourself to feel what happens when you become present and take away the momentum of your attention from the never ending thought ticker playing across the screen of your consciousness.
It may feel uncomfortable sometimes, but that is only the initial experience of the new layers you’re reaching as you delve just below the surface of your present moment experience. Much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to let go and relax as they were being strangled by Devil’s Snare in order to make their way through to the sorcerer’s stone, there is more than the prickly uncomfortable surface experience.
Next time you feel out of alignment with your highest potential take a deep breath, lean into the initial uncomfortable feeling as you come into the present moment, and settle into what is real. In this simple and transformative video Eckhart Tolle puts it much more eloquently:
Are you bothered by the ego in others?
The quickest way to dispel someone else’s ego is to let go of the ego in yourself. Meaning, that you detach yourself from the thoughts you are having about who they are, who you are, and how both of you should be.
Only egos recognize other egos, only spirit recognizes spirit.
The next two days mark the end of my four-year journey as a Teaching Artist at a Chicago Public School, and I’ve been finding myself asked daily, “What do you want to do?”
As I stood staring at the radiant body of the red bird I thought, “What is the Cardinal meant to do?” and laughed in spite of myself.
We all have a perfect view for the bizarre parade of our own thoughts. As this both random and repetitive display barrels ever on, we are constantly presented with a choice. We can sit back in the lounge chair of our consciousness and witness this interesting spectacle as it passes, or we can pick out whatever catches the eye and hold onto it, even follow it off in its own direction. Whether or not your thoughts are pleasing and true depends on which particular section of the parade is passing you by, but no matter what kind of thoughts you have, you can always decide which ones to believe.
Growing up during the “Harry Potter Era” taught me innumerable lessons, one of which is that I love Harry Potter. I can’t count how many times I’ve read J.K. Rowling‘s gift to this world, but each time I do I am no less entertained than the time before. Every time I go through the series it feels new.
New things, feelings, experiences, and insights provide an unparalleled joy. Why is that? Is it possible to feel that same sense of joy more often?
The joy that comes from the new is actually the joy that arises from the now. Usually we do not truly experience the present moment, because our thoughts and perceptions are clouded by a heavy veil of past. It is so natural to view everything through the eyes of the past that it can be impossible to notice we aren’t seeing the reality of the eternally new present.
New things unveil the joy of the present because we have no past experiences through which to filter them. The beginning of cultivating that experience in everyday life is to acknowledge you are viewing the present through the lens of the past, and do no see the actuality of what is. This opens the door for the infinitely new now.
On that note, get a boost in present moment awareness with these adorable puppies experiencing the newness of life. Dogs are great teachers of presence because they are always fully experiencing each moment.