Advertisements

It is Happening Now!

Geisel Library at University of California San Diego

I was walking up to the main library at the University of California in San Diego one night, which is a long walk even when you pay for parking, when I noticed my absent minded condition. I had been walking wrapped in thought, pondering. I had been oblivious to my surroundings. Does it happen to you? I am being facetious, of course, I know it does. We are all ponderers. We have so many projects, so many things pending and so many expectations! We believe that our efforts will eventually take us to a safe haven, don’t we?

And it is good that we have projects and goals, that is life! Without action nothing gets done. But there is a hidden challenge in taking action that we don’t see, for no matter how many goals we may have all we ever really have is this present moment. We do think that our goals will take us to a safe haven but there is no such a thing; there can’t be because this is a world of change. After we get to our “safe haven” sooner or later a new challenge will sprout. Besides, in a world where death is waiting at every turn, where can there be safety? Our challenge is to realize that we should act for the sake of the action itself because the challenge at hand is all we ever have. Reality is not what we think! Reality is what is here now. Everything is in this very moment.

Therefore, I decided to focus on the present moment, on what was actually taking place. I became aware then of the things that I was approaching (benches, cars, bus stops…), of the trees that I passed on the wooded trails. Soon I arrived at the last stretch of my walk, the wide walkway lined by tall Eucalyptus trees that takes you directly to the library, and I noticed other pedestrians immersed, as I had been, in self-reflection, oblivious to the world.

I noticed the library in the distance, a huge building that rose like a mushroom, like a giant bird spreading its wings obliterating the star-raddled sky. I wondered how that enormous building could remain aloft in such a narrow base, a feat of engineering. It reminded me briefly of the ship “Nostromo” in the movie “Alien” and for a moment my mind drifted in that direction. I brought it back. I walked on while aware of my surroundings, aware of the seemingly approaching building and the steps that brought it near. And then I was awaken from the slumber of self-reflection completely…I was fully aware of my surroundings.

When I arrived at the Geisel library I was present, and the feeling was such that I felt like prolonging my walk. A quote from The Christ interrupted my concentration once more, “Let thine eye be single and your whole body will be full of light”. And then I realized that prolonging my walk really didn’t matter because regardless of what we are doing presence of mind is always an option. Our attention can always be placed on the action at hand.

It does not matter either how well we do it (to berate ourselves for not being present is also a lack of discipline, an ego problem) our best is enough. To be aware of what the mind does is the key. To see how it worries about past events that can’t be changed or future events that will never happen is the first step. But we shouldn’t force the issue, for the mind’s very nature is to think. Make it play! Watch the mind’s moves!

Nevertheless, we should do our best, for an undisciplined mind can’t avoid misleading us. And having a disciplined mind is the only way to vanquish the darkness of self-centeredness, that ego-induced self-reflection that is usually empty blabber, a blind alley. A disciplined mind is the key to happiness…”Let thine eye be single…”

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. I like this. No matter what we are doing our mind can still pay attention; simple.

    There are many ways to discipline the mind of course, and each one has different results. Do you know much about the different ways to discipline mind?

    Like

  2. Hi Andrew! Thanks for your comment and your question.
    The easiest way is to bring your attention to your breath. Count your breaths from one to ten. Whenever your attention wanders start over.
    But like you say, it is simple. Bring your attention back to what you are doing and to what is happening around you. What is your body doing or feeling? Make it play! Watch the mind”s moves and understand what is happening…how the ego survives avoiding Reality.
    Recommended reading: “Meditation Now or Never” by Steve Hagen

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: