the moon is a sliver.
our interest in reality is extremely low. no, we want to think. we want to worry through all our preconceptions. we want to figure life out. and so before we know it we’ve forgotten all about this moment, and we’ve drifted off into thinking about something: our boyfriend, our girlfriend, our child, our boss, our current fear…off we go! there’s nothing sinful about such fantasizing except that when we’re lost in that, we’ve lost something else. when we’re lost in thought, when we’re dreaming, what have we lost? we’ve lost reality. our life has escaped us.
this is what human beings do. and we dont just do it sometimes, we do it most of the time. why do we do that? you know that answer, of course. we do it because we are trying to protect ourselves. we’re trying to rid ourselves or our current difficulty, or at least understand it. there’s nothing wrong with our self centered thoughts except that when we identify with them, our view of reality is blocked.
–charlotte joko beck in everyday zen
the fagr call to prayer has passed. and the sky is becoming light. the leaves of the tree outside my window in silhouette.
most of the time, maybe about 90-95 percent of the time, we do not need our thoughts. we do not need to be figuring anything out. we just need to be here, in reality, in this moment, right now, experiencing life. our job is not to figure out life, but to savor it, to love it, to worship and adore it, to be in it, to let it flow through us.
instead we try to convince ourselves that we are all powerful. that if we just think and obsess and ruminate and worry long enough we will find a solution to our problems. our problems being that we want life to be different that it is.
now this is understandable. life can be painful. and no one wants to be in pain.
this ramadan, there has been pain in my life. great joy and celebration. iftar with friends. fagr over the nile river. but also bitter disappointment, ugliness, thievery.
i have watched myself be angry, hurt, sad, and vengeful.
and i let those thoughts and emotions flow and cycle through me. repeatedly. and as i did so, i labeled them: anger, pain, confusion, self-righteousness, tension, fear. i returned again and again to the body. to the breath. to the simple acts that i could do right now. walk, answer the phone, dance with aza, laugh with cal, type, clean, listen, and respond.
do one thing at a time and savor doing it.
in your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. for example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your hourse or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. be totally present.
or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on.
or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence.
there is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.
the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. everytime you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.
one day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. this means that you no longer take the contenet of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.
–eckhart tolle in practising the power of now
the sky is grey white now. birds are gurgling in the tree outside my window. ramadan is almost finished.
the voice in my head wants to ‘figure things out’, so that i can learn from the past and not make the same mistakes in the future. so that i can protect myself, as if i can control abusive people, or really anything in this world.
but i cant. i cannot control anything. and no amount of thinking is going to change that fact.
all that i can do is:
to accept the things I cannot change
courage to change the things I can
and in order to have the wisdom to know the difference, i need to stop trying to control life, so that can see this life, this reality clearly for what it is.