The Present Never Runs Out
When the Buddha was asked, “Sir, what do you and your monks practice?” he replied, “We sit, we walk, and we eat.”
The questioner continued, “But sir, everyone sits, walks, and eats.”
And the Buddha told him, “When we sit, we know we are sitting. When we walk, we know we are walking. When we eat, we know we are eating.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh
All this speculating and categorizing and book-reading and thinking and doing!
You ever just, be?
The mystics saw through the stimuli of the world. And as much as I know this, I still get trapped by it. The world is a very captivating set of phenomena. And it’s why being firmly rooted in the present is such an artform.
There’s a lovely spiritual cliché from Vonnegut: we are human beings, not human doings.
But there’s just so much to do!
In my life, in the world. There are so many great books to read. My movie and TV show watchlist keeps getting larger, not smaller. There are so many places to see, foods to try, people to meet.
And yet, here we are.
I am sitting.
In a chair.
Noticing the thoughts come up.
That’s the primary technique for being rooted in the present, in meditation.
Most people think that meditating is stopping your thoughts. That’s a misunderstanding. Even experienced meditators don’t stop the thoughts completely. That’s Dōgen’s zazen, or Ramakrishna’s samadhi… where you’re merely an empty vessel for the śūnyatā or the Divine. That might be the eventual goal, but that’s not my morning meditation.
All I’m doing is being aware of being aware.
“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.”