Meeting the Moment

I sit down to write this blog post, and I notice the note to myself that I’ve posted above the computer: “Get out of the house!” It’s written in garden-green, with a big heart next to it. I glance to the right of the computer screen and see this bit from John O’Donohue: “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve become someone who relies on bits of paper posted on my office walls, for those moments when I forget to remember. I suppose that “Get out of the house!” isn’t entirely an invitation to Be Here Now, since it’s an admonition to leave the desk. But it does give me sweet pause when I read it: I’m here. Is this the most skillful place for me to be, or am I here habitually? That pause helps me smile and breathe. And maybe I step outside, or leave my desk and find asana.

On meeting the moment: what it is, and what it isn’t. What is isn’t: wanting things to be different than they are, aka Suffering. (A moment here of gratitude for the dharma talk, in sitting group with Pamela Weiss last night… way more helpful than little bits of paper on the wall. Let’s hear it for the first and second Noble Truths!)

I tend to hear from others that they perceive me as “grounded,” “calm,” or “mellow.” Okay, I’ll take it, and thank you. But truly, I used to think that I was grounded and mellow, and then I realized that I was just controlling. I was trying to control the moment by making my surroundings and everyone around me calm and quiet. I was trying to calm down, get everything still, quiet, and small — so that my nervous system could handle it, in this whizzing-by world of ours.

I believe that practice benefits from still and quiet. Because it’s practice! At last, I understand the often-used analogy, that seated meditation is like being in a laboratory! Artificial conditions! And yet, there’s still so much happening.

And I do love still, quiet, and calm. At the same time, I’m practicing for the still center of equanimity that remains even, and especially, when everything is fast, loud, big, and whizzing by. Meeting the moment.

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