LIVING IN THE NOW – DAY 3
May I bust a myth?
That the breath is the mystical soothe-all solution for every stress-based ill, for everyone. The myth says: “Here it is, right in the moment. In the NOW. Use the breath and all will be well”.
Sorry – but that, right there, is woo-woo bullshit with a capital B.
Suggesting that if you pay attention the breath, then your thoughts will stop or won’t return in the next moment, is misleading. Yet I’ve heard many teachers say it, and met a lot of students hoping for that. It’s a seductive idea, that the breath is NOW – full stop.
There is no full stop on NOW.
There’s an old Buddhist saying: “You can’t step into the same river twice”. It means the river has the same name and is in the same place as yesterday, but the water is different moment by moment by moment. Everything flows. NOW flows, it keeps changing.
Going back to the breath, we can experiment with noticing just the first touch of air on the nostrils as a NOW moment. This way, we free ourselves from expecting our attention to stay focused throughout the full in-breath, out-breath cycle. If the mind drops in with a worry, that too is an opportunity to notice NOW. In this way we are changing our expectation, allowing our curiosity to discover something new about our life, to be fascinated.
Today’s invitation isn’t actually about the breath – it’s about noticing how the NOW keeps changing. It’s very subtle and it demands a lot of attention, and an open mind. Your thoughts may be saying: “No, it’s exactly the same as a moment ago…” Pay more attention. It has changed! I promise. If the breath is a friend to you, feel free to use it. But sunlight, smells, the water from the kitchen tap, your mind, your body sensations and just about everything else in our marvellous lives also keep on changing and flowing.
Roger Keyes: Hokusai says
Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.
He says Look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it’s interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient,
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive –
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees. Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah
or the shadows 0 the trees
and grasses in our garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives
Contentment is Life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
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