I am once again dunking my head under the waters of… presence!!! J/K… I’m going into the monastery again 😉
This time, it’s only for ten days, and when I pop out on the other side, I will jump straight on a night train bound for Bangkok, wake up, deboard, and run to the airport. My next stop will be Kolkatta, India.
Ever since I went in to the monastery back in early April, my intent, my practice, and my focus, has been to be present. Being present is constant work for an ego as strong as this one 😉 However, this time alone has been invaluable in helping me watch myself, my patterns, my thoughts, and my habits. I am becoming a good friend of mine… not of the voice in my head, but of the deep, still, constant part of me that is what we really are. My ego is scared shitless of letting go and just being… but we press on, nonetheless.
I just picked up a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now.” Maybe you’ve already read it, maybe you heard Oprah touting it, maybe your best friend has been telling you to read it forever, or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” are both written by Monsieur Eckhart, and they are fabulous! Read them! There is no excuse not to pick up a copy of one or both the next time you spot one in a bookshop or a library, or to just browse through a few pages if you see a copy lying on a friend’s coffee table. These books are transformative, and in the gap between my formal meditation practice, they have done more to help me be present than anything else.
I still feel like I’m clinging to anything that floats at this point in my journey- whether it’s a book, or a mantra, or the flow of my breath in and out of my lungs. I have not yet learned the skill (?) of being effortlessly present- it is constant work. BUT… in the moments when the light shines through, and the table cloth looks particularly red, and my heart seems to brim and overflow with love… then all this practice is absolutely worth it. I’ve even begun dreaming differently. There is a strange quality of alertness to my sleep- I rest just as deeply, but I seem to be situated a little more highly above it- I’m not so lost in landscapes and forms. Phew…!
That, of course, is a side effect of presence- not feeling so lost. When I am grounded in the here and now- typing, typing, typing- a smile naturally comes to my face, my laughter is full and joyous, and my body seems to tingle with life. So if a book needs to be my life-line for now, so be it. “The Power of Now” is my current bridge to the present moment, which I come into again and again and again. Over and over. Die and come back. Get lost and come home. Right here, right now 😉
Wish me luck! It could be three or four weeks before I post anything new here, but it may be sooner. Once I get to Kolkatta, I will probably make straight for Delhi, and from there, up into the foothills of Northern India. My goals once I get there have everything to do with settling down in a quiet town and beginning to practice yoga on a daily basis. I’d like to balance some of this mental practice with a physical routine, and yoga sounds perfect. It’s just the right compliment to everything I’ve been learning about and practicing thus far, plus I get to stretch my body, which feels so good!!!
Much love to you all, and I will see you on the other side 😉