Let’s not stuff around any further, let’s answer this now.
When you are present you are not thinking about your past or future, nor living in the emotions that belong to anything else except for the present moment . And unless you are in immediate danger you are also not connected to your worries, doubts or fears. Mostly you just exist! And in many ways you are simply connected to the world around you.
So let’s imagine that you are safe and sitting down in a quiet park. There is nothing pressing occurring in your life that you need to worry about therefore you don’t need to think about anything at all. So, instead you just sit there appreciating your surroundings. There is nothing to make you upset, feel depressed, or a reason to hate existence. And Voila! That’s it! You did it! Kinda…
If you were to do the above (and you were in a perfect world) there should be little emotions or thoughts running through you. Your senses would be adaptive to your surroundings and there would be no heightened emotions either positive or negative.
Before we move forward please note that the above is not meditation. This being said the definition of meditation (as defined in the dictionary) is so interpretive that you can also reference it to a roller coaster ride. Yet it is important to note that we are simply talking about presence here. Meditation is a means to get to presence, it is not the only way to achieve it.
For fun, let’s use an animal example. Most animals are simply connected to the world around them, living off instinct and thinking moment to moment. That’s why you don’t see many lion’s smoking cigarettes or looking upset whilst waiting in the doll que nowadays.
An animal will eat when it feels like eating, it will void when it feels like voiding, it will mate when it feels like mating and it will sleep when it gets tired. A deer doesn’t stay up late, eliminating sleep to stay up watching Broad Church (although how awesome is it! Don’t tell me anything, I just started season 2) it goes to sleep when it needs to. And although some animals are traumatized due to circumstances when they are young (which can lead to anxiety when they get older) they still don’t reflect on their past and remember when and where it all went wrong. They instead move with their emotions in the present moment and don’t wallow on what could have been.
Being a human and having our beautiful juicy intellect is as amazing as it is a pain in the ass. The same capacity to philosophize ‘I think therefore I am’ (which is a discussion within itself by the way) is the same device that makes us over think and worry all the time. Hence the tightrope we need to walk in this life.
Now I am not saying that the animals have it right, nor am I saying that we should go back to being primitives with simple intellects, especially when part of the issue is society driven (I will go through this in a later chapter). But what I am suggesting is that our ability to think at the capacity that we do creates a world (within our own mind) that is more complicated than what is before our very eyes. Furthermore, this crazy, hectic, fast paced civilization doesn’t give us the time that our mind needs to catch up, analyse and reflect on what is most important.
Let me give you another example. Let’s replace your life with that of a Kangaroo. The Kangaroo does not wake up and worry about the death images on the news or which serials might be poisoned by activists. Instead it gets up, notices the weather and becomes attuned to its surroundings regardless of rain or shine. It does not get upset by the weather because it is not in control of the weather. If the Kangaroo accidentally jumped into the river in front of the other kangaroos yesterday it does not hold resentment to those that saw it, nor does it feel ashamed or angry. The river incident occurred yesterday and that has nothing to do with today. I mean sure, the kangaroo learned its lesson though now that it has done and dusted it has moved on and that’s the end of it. Life is not doom or gloom to a kangaroo. It’s just… life…
Being present will of course not make you happy. Buddhists state that it’s about contentment which of course is an enjoyable and peaceful mindset. Some Buddhists dedicate their entire lives to being content and being present whilst meditating in a temple for large periods of time, yet, this is not necessary for most of us. Maybe one day if you choose to try and obtain enlightenment this may be your path, though until then these blogs are about keeping it simple and living within the 9 to 5 world. So let’s start with that then.