Arriving Home :: Being Right Here, Right Now
Being Right Here, Right Now
So often we are looking to get to the next place, make the next move or come up with the next brilliant idea that will make our lives better. As humans, we are designed to always be searching for comfort and pleasantness, while avoiding pain and unpleasantness.
As a meditator for 15 years, I have had my own run-ins with this push-and-pull dichotomy. For a long time, I found myself to a certain extent trying to pull in more pleasantness and more comfort, both in my meditation practice and in my life. As soon as any discomfort happened, I would immediately try to fix it. I would sharply ignore any thoughts that passed through my mind. I would very subtly try to conjure happiness and bliss durning each moment of my meditation. Honestly, this worked for me for a really long time - until I encountered some really extreme human moments in my life where I couldn't meditate my way into happiness in one breath, or let go of the immense sadness I was feeling in my heart. As the saying goes, "no matter where you go, there you are". I simply could not avoid the extreme unpleasantness I was feeling.
What at first seemed like a teetering personal breakdown soon became one of my biggest teachers for my practice and my life. (For me, life is practice and practice is life.) When I had no way to get myself out of the discomfort I was in, no matter how hard I tried, this moment lead me to finally learning how to be with pain and unpleasantness. I no longer struggled against my sufferings, I finally recognized the deeper relief in truly allowing them to simply be there too.
Many of the traditional buddhist teachings point us towards becoming unattached and unbiased between happiness and pain, comfort and discomfort. The following practice is a meditation for learning to be with what is, and be with all that is "right here, right now".
A Meditation For Being With What Is
Find your way to a comfortable seated posture and position. Or if you are out in the world, simply have your attention in the body.
If it is comfortable to do so, allow the eyes to gently close and bring your attention to the sensations of your breath.
First, bring your attention to the activity in your mind. More specifically the content of thoughts in your mind. Notice if you can observe them without judging them. Notice if you can let them be there even if there is a lot of thinking happening.
Now, bring your attention to any emotions and moods present. Observe any flavors of feelings, and see if you can hold your feelings with a non-judgmental kindness.
Lastly, bring your attention to your body. Sense whether the body is open, closed, tense or spacious. Notice if you can let the body be exactly as it is.
For the final few moments of your meditation, keep noticing the present moment experiences you encounter in the mind, heart and body. Notice if you cannot push any away or try to pull in any certain types of thoughts or emotions. Allow yourself to be exactly as you are in the moment.
And when you are ready, you can gently open your eyes.