Nature and the present moment

present moment practice

It is raining… It is not ‘it will clear in a few hours’ or ‘yesterday it was sunny’, it is raining here and now, nothing else is happening. Nature is expressing herself through the element of water in this very moment and it is just how it is. It is not that it is wrong or should be something else, it is what it is right now. Our minds create stories about ideal situations and conditions in every moment of the day. Mind perceives things often not as they are, but how they should be, what would be more favourable and wishing for something else, for a change from what is currently. When do we notice the rain that is happening right now? The mind invites us to avoid, to close eyes and let it pass, but not only that wishing for it to pass and fast, the sooner the better. This is suffering and how it is created in the mind. Imagine the freedom of allowing the rain wash over you literary through your senses of vision, touch and sound and allow your body to be in contact with it, that’s even better. I bet it will be somewhat of a shock to realise what rain feels like and the resistance that one would experience from being in that moment. That’s how powerful the mind is and how difficult it is to detach from its constant instructions and interpretations of reality around us.

It is like rain on a wedding day, which was mine, e.g. It rained like I never experienced in my life before with days previously and the day after being glorious warm and sunny. I despaired, I suffered in the mind’s realisation it is actually raining heavily on my wedding day. “Why, or why, it is not fair, how is this even possible, it shouldn’t be this way”, etc. This is the voice that my mind used with me. It was all about me in that moment (we are terribly self-centred creatures, humans). It was not about anything or anyone else, but about me being upset with the rain for ruining my day, but was it ruined? A wise woman pulled me out of my mind’s cruel narrative and brought me back to a moment of ‘nothing is different, nothing is affecting anything, but my mind’. I was still going to marry a man I loved, the intention was still there, all guests were still there, everything prepared and ready, why would rain take that away from me. It wasn’t rain, it was my own mind that was trying to convince me that ‘it should not rain on a wedding day’.

Nature does what it does in every moment, it is changing all the time. It lives, it blooms and it dies without attachments or regrets. It is just how things are. I am yet to find a greater teacher than what is all around us all year round. It is there, in front of us manifesting lessons in every moment and if observant on a daily basis we can take those teachings into our daily lives and drop the struggle, which is not what we ultimately want, yet mind creates scenarios for us to attach and hold on to. This is why a simple breath meditation is so useful when one simply observes their breath and notices how, when and where their mind drifts off to. Simply noticing what the mind does in any given moment, acknowledge it and let it go and come back to the breath.

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Lessons from today’s meditation

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Today I had a pleasure of being taught meditation again in a Buddhist Monastery. I love the variety of monks that take sessions. Each one is very individual with unique personalities and I can’t help but smile most of the time I am there. There’s this sweet calmness about the place that is really relaxing. It also feels authentic rather than constructed or forced. It is there naturally. Simplistic and clean environment is so inviting and conducive to a practice of meditation.

Today’s lesson was to be curious, wonder about your mind and allow it to be whatever it wants to be. Another aspect is to recognise it as a part of you, hence being self-loving means not judging your own thoughts but let them be. Everything is impermanent. Thoughts come and go and we don’t need to attach ourselves to any of them. We are observing and being curious about our mind’s nature.

I really understood this today and it opened my eyes to a possibility of actually being able to implement this into my practice and my life on a wider scale. I do think Buddhist meditation is a very intelligent system at regulating our thoughts and emotional responses. I am curious to know more on outside and within. Today was all about getting to know our minds through being inwardly aware.

What I observed was that my mind is often very obliging. One might say it is trying too hard and there’s a lot of energy spent, often unnecessary, on creating thought patterns that are not needed. It also gets confused by its own ‘trying hard’ and runs away with it, so to speak. It felt amazing to be able to obtain that information through meditation.

I also observed that I do well in meditation and succeed in calming my mind when focusing on an object (It was caramel cake today. No idea why) or a word (again it was cake) and repeating it over and over. Image and word today were spontaneous, but I imagine it can also easily be chosen specifically for a meditation. I also realised that I do best with guidance rather than on my own, i.e. guiding meditations help me.

I am yet to master the right posture and position when meditating. I am too uncomfortable but when I am not focusing on my legs or engage with thinning about how uncomfortable it feels I am able to sit still and be calm. That is a good demonstration of how it IS possible not to get attached to a thought that a mind is trying to focus on and as a result to remain calm.

I also noticed quite clearly how my mind naturally wants to grab onto negative thoughts rather than positive. That was great to realise and I feel I might sort of understand a way of changing that too going forward with a lot more practice. It does explain my nature very well and wanting to attach to something positive naturally is going to take some time. Once I try that the aim is not to attach to any forms of thought and simply remain in curious observation.

I am thrilled to be able to continue with my learning in such a beautiful and peaceful place.