My mind surrounds itself with the frustrations of past or future events, my attention spirals far away from anything happen around me. Logically I know this concentrated effort on fear does not save me, and yet the thoughts seem to emerge with ease so regularly. Is today just another day stuck in self-centerdness, the internal debacle and endless debate leading nowhere, or can I leap forward into a moment of use to the world? Do I dare step outside the comfort of my own thoughts and seek out someone in need, or will I save that experience for a future date? Do I get to reveal what really matters in my consciousness each day and follow that path, or will I continue surging forward in analytical reasoning of things that have happened in the past, or future dilemmas I have yet to encounter and yet prepare myself for with such diligence?
My connection the mind is so solidified that I rarely submerge myself in the present moment. The manipulation of my social, financial, physical position is all that my brain wants to orchestrate instead of taking a few moments to be still. I sit with a confused gaze wondering if I will face these same illusionary thoughts tomorrow, or will I be able to escape to a place where joy resides and is available to me (or you) at any time that I chose to embrace it?
My mind says, NO! “You need to read another book. Serenity only comes to those who work hard for it! You are not old or wise enough to escape this suffering of the mind yet”. My constant hyper-vigilence in the world destroys the peace around me that I have been seeking. My mind is so focused on solving this problem with a cerebral response and yet we are told that is part of the problem. The problems of the mind are not always solved through the same conscious levelling we have traditionally used for problem solving. We are no further away from the solution than we will be in 5, 10, or 20 years, and yet the mind creates arduous barriers that tell us we aren’t smart enough, or educated enough yet to reach such control and peace in our lives.
The Way Out
No book, teacher, drug, awakening, class, discussion or mandate is required for you to escape this torment of the mind. The mental lens you use to view the world needs a slight perspective change, and an alignment with curiosity. You don’t need to go away or travel abroad for the solution. You need to take a simple mundane activity and make it extravagant and new experience.
I was having a tough day today and I needed some distraction from concerns that I have been dwelling on for some time now. Instead of applying the resistance approach to my thoughts, which never works, I applied a new tactic. I got curious about all the life around me immediately, and today my escape to the present moment was found through a grapefruit.
Normally I would have had little thought about grabbing the fruit from the kitchen, peeling it, breaking it into sections and devouring it with pleasure. Today the grapefruit evolved from a typical experience in the every day to a living piece of art and amazement. Slowly grasping the fruit in my minds I felt the dense weight and round soft texture of it’s skin. Looking with more curiosity at the fruit I examined the small grooves and scars that may have come as a result of packaging and travel to my local grocer.
Slowly I stabbed the fruit with my thumbnail and a flare of citrus spray erupted off the skin of the grapefruit. The air began to fill with a beautiful citrus aroma that I have grown to love over the years. The peel gripping tightly to the fruit almost played a game of tug’O'war with my fingers, grasping the flesh of the fruit as I overpowered and removed the protective covering. Even after the peel was removed there still lay a thick white skin-like covering that is usually unpalatable and must be removed. I marvelled at the design of the grapefruit, the levels of internal packaging that mother nature had fabricated.
Gently I break the grapefruit in half and wedge out the individual slices in preparation for consumption. Prior to ingestion, I dig deeper into the flesh removing the final layer of skin covering each individual piece. What is now revealed to me is something of beauty. Sporadic seeds rest in the middle of the pieces that are held securely by hundreds of tiny morsels of pulp. As the sun beamed down on the fruit it exposed the incredible framework that takes places between the tiny uniquely shape juice vesicles of pulp.
I sink my teeth into a slice and am rewarded with a burst of flavour that tingles my senses, a smile of appreciation illuminates my face and my mind is at peace once again. I then realize that my fears that were just held so tightly in my mind have now subsided and made way for something of much more value and importance.
This change of perspective and view on the world released me from my internal debate of illusion and for that moment I have liberated myself entrenched thought (what a relief). The fresh outlook on my world remained charmed for the rest of the day. The joy and amazement of a single piece of fruit took over my mind and nothing else mattered. The present moment was captured with no force or instigation, I simply lept with curiousity into something so typical and made it be of the utmost importance. Who would have thought that a simple degree of appreciation for the ordinary could change my whole day!
This solution to the toxic thought filled mind can be used for practically any ordinary activity, like brushing your teeth, eating, showering, ironing your shirt, you name it. The point is to lose yourself in the moment and you’ll find that that internal struggle that you have been fighting with seems to dissolve itself. Your consciousness dwells on your new activity with curious detail, and little else seems to matter.
What tricks do you use to enter into the present moment?
Many of you have read Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” before and enjoyed it, but the real guts of that book can be found in The Power of Now.
Give it a read and let us know how you made out with the principles and concepts in this book. We know that many people use it as a textbook for the present moment and find that multiple reads produces more insight into the practice.