Is the Present Moment Over-Rated?
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
What a great roadtrip! Winding through the back country Colorado roads with my good friend, having heart-expanding conversations and the inspiration of meadows, rivers and wildlife
We had spent several months preparing a course for the upcoming Women's Retreat we had been asked to lead. We knew we couldn't just write a course, we had to live it. So prior to our time at the retreat, while we were sifting out our experiences, I made a more concerted effort to live in the vey moment as I moved through my days. But oh how often I woke up in the morning and totally forgot to be alive to the moments of my day.
What's so great about the present moment anyway?
Maybe that was the problem, maybe I hadn't really seen a good enough reason to make it a priority. So back to the drawing board I went, combing through the content of the course, trying to see somewhat deeper into the ideas I had been writing about.
What I found is that being in the present moment can save our lives, and not being there is the source of much anxiety and even depression. I realized that there were two things that often created my own suffering. One, was setting up camp in the past, longing for those days when life seemed somewhat safer. Two, also setting up camp in the future- the unknown looming over me like a dark shadow. I was lost in what the days ahead held and if I control the outcome. All I really had was now.
These thoughts led me on walk down to the ominous Colorado Blue Spruce Tree with the trickling stream running over its roots. I sat and felt only what was in the present moment. I traveled through each of my senses and noticed and named everything that came to me. It went something like this.
A Present Moment Practice
I see waves of bark traveling up and down the tree's trunk. I smell the fresh pine and the sweet wild roses. I feel the earth under me, holding me, supporting me. I hear the babbling and singing of the water as it moves over the rocks (wonder where it's going in such a hurry.) I look up and see the the interlocking branches and the wisps of blue sky peeking through. I plucked a dandelion leaf and chewed a bit of it. I quickly tasted its bitter flavor and quickly spit it out. And then, I took a deep breath and felt the air surge through my lungs.
There, I had done it. Now I checked in with my emotional and spiritual state. I was calm, happy, confident. Just being in this moment. It was a kind of miraculous, transformation that took about 5 minutes. I learned that the great thing about the present moment is that it removes suffering and opens a space for joy. And that, my friends, is what I want most out of life.