Arriving at the here and now
Posted by Simon Parke, 04 October 2019, 1.18pm
People say it is good to live in the present, and this makes sense.
The past is stale bread, the future is no bread, the present is fresh bread.
However, it is difficult to be present… despite it seeming the most obvious and easy thing in the world.
In truth, most of us are hardly ever present and one of the reasons is that we can only be present without judgement.
And I do judge…all the time.
But the awkward truth is that if we are judging our situation in any way - wishing it were different - we cannot be present.
And our mind is always judging…always, always!.
‘I wish the sky was blue today and not this wretched rain.’
And suddenly, I am not present to my walk, which is sad.
So I abort the present with my judgements.
Judgements take many forms. Perhaps we live our lives thinking it used to be better when…
Or look at someone else’s life on social media and think that must be really good…
Or imagine that just around the next corner is the answer. I’ll be happy then!
Ahh, how discreet judgement flows…
The present is not quite what I want, but with this or that changing - well, it could be great!
We live in situations that we are constantly judging, with people we are constantly judging.
It’s what the mind does; it sets one thing against another.
‘Can the bus go any slower?!?’
And so we are not present to our journey.
When I don’t accept the present - when I don’t embrace it exactly as it is, when I resist it in some manner - I am somewhere other than the here and now.
Please note though: This doesn’t mean we have to declare everything to be marvellous.
This is not some desperate call to positivity because the speaker can’t cope with anyone being sad.
It simply means we accept whatever is presented…without judgement.
‘I am finding this difficult… and that’s OK.’
I’m not judging it… I am just speaking my experience in this moment. I am present to my experience rather than wishing it were other.
We might be present to difficulty or joy, sadness or rage - maybe anxiety.
And this is OK.
The mark of a contemplative is one who beholds...which is pondering/seeing without judgement.
I do this with people on retreat sometimes. And folk who never imagined they could do such a thing, have been pleasantly surprised.
We’ve taken a difficult situation, an area of damage in our lives…and merely looked at it, without judgement, without trying to impose a solution on it.
We just behold it, it’s what is, it’s OK…and allow room for grace.
Strangely, change occurs when we accept a situation rather than resist it.
The present is fresh bread, yes…
...and arrived at, not by stress and strain, but by simply allowing our judgements to dissolve.