the here, the now, the everything

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I want all of it
A full heart; An open mind; A good night's sleep; $1.5 billion; A peaceful mental state when reflecting on the past or considering the future; Mac and cheese that registers with the body as celery...
But here lies the problem: 
To want is to indicate to yourself and others that you are without
when, truthfully, you are without nothing.
Believe you are rich and you will feel so-- in spirit if not monetarily.
Recognize the great health that you already posses, and you will effortlessly ensure measures to maintain it.
Acknowledge the fact that without the past happening precisely the way that it did, you would not be the person you are right now,
and that the future is but an illusionary mystery; one we ought not concern ourselves with.
All we have, I mean the only tangible and propitious gift that we possess, is the present.
Right here, right now, all around us.

And we are missing it.

We consume ourselves with constant distractions.

Thoughts of irrelevant past; plans for irrelevant future; the opinions of others.
What we should be focusing on instead is this exact second in time...
On the elements of life and celestial existence pulsating around us constantly.
The way your chest moves as you breathe.
The way your fingers feel when they touch something.
The way your food tastes as you eat it; the satisfaction of thirst-quenched.
It is nearly impossible in this day and age to pull ourselves out of our heads/smartphones and into the moment... 
We don't even recognize how pathetically un-present we're being.
When you do manage to clear your mind and focus only on the now, one second at a time, you will know:
It feels almost as if you are wearing goggles or seeing the world through the eyes of a dream; 
things look different.
This exceedingly difficult practice of redirecting one's thoughts and, instead, immersing fully in the present, is referred to as "mindfulness."
Practicing mindfulness has been known to have a range of positive effects on things like stress, mental disorders, and even some physical illnesses. 
Being mindful begins with meditation-- with consciously drawing your thoughts and attention to the present moment. 
Thus, how does one start to develop these habits?
Good question. Some form of aid is almost certainly necessary, as meditating is anything but natural for our 2016 edition overexposed-and-overworked brain parts.
But fear not, ya girl's got ya.
About a year ago I acquired a helpful mini-read called The Little Book of Mindfulness by Dr. Patrizia Collard (click title for Amazon link). It outlines 5-10 minute daily exercises to help you embark upon your mastery of meditation. I've also found a few helpful tips from Zen Habits, which I've included below:

1) "Sit for just two minutes. This will seem ridiculously easy, to just meditate for two minutes. That’s perfect. Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month, which is amazing! But start small first.

2) Do it first thing each morning. It’s easy to say, “I’ll meditate every day,” but then forget to do it. Instead, set a reminder for every morning when you get up, and put a note that says “meditate” somewhere where you’ll see it.

3) Don’t get caught up in the how — just do. Most people worry about where to sit, how to sit, what cushion to use … this is all nice, but it’s not that important to get started. Start just by sitting on a chair, or on your couch. Or on your bed. If you’re comfortable on the ground, sit cross-legged. It’s just for two minutes at first anyway, so just sit. Later you can worry about optimizing it so you’ll be comfortable for longer, but in the beginning it doesn’t matter much, just sit somewhere quiet and comfortable.

4) Check in with how you’re feeling. As you first settle into your meditation session, simply check to see how you’re feeling. How does your body feel? What is the quality of your mind? Busy? Tired? Anxious? See whatever you’re bringing to this meditation session as completely OK.

5) Count your breaths. Now that you’re settled in, turn your attention to your breath. Just place the attention on your breath as it comes in, and follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you take in the first breath, then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat this to the count of 10, then start again at one.

6) Come back when you wander. Your mind will wander. This is an almost absolute certainty. There’s no problem with that. When you notice your mind wandering, smile, and simply gently return to your breath. Count “one” again, and start over. You might feel a little frustration, but it’s perfectly OK to not stay focused, we all do it. This is the practice, and you won’t be good at it for a little while.

7) Develop a loving attitude. When you notice thoughts and feelings arising during meditation, as they will, look at them with a friendly attitude. See them as friends, not intruders or enemies. They are a part of you, though not all of you. Be friendly and not harsh.

8) Don’t worry too much that you’re doing it wrong. You will worry you’re doing it wrong. That’s OK, we all do. You’re not doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way to do it, just be happy you’re doing it."

The hope is that with these simple tips and practices, one might begin to recognize the nature of their mind, and start successfully drawing themselves back into the loving and powerful embrace of the here/now.
Life is fleeting, so why waste a single moment at the hands of needless contemplation or anxiety? 
Allow yourself to become immersed in the sensations of currentness.
Begin to find your menial tasks saturated with soul; each undertaking acting as a reflection of the cosmos which echo within your core; let everything you touch become art.
You are just as you are, and you already possess everything you need.
All that other stuff-- it will take care of itself. Believe that.

Love eternal,

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