I spent my ten-minute meditation time this morning listening to the birds chirping as I sat cross-legged next to our big picture window. It sounded like a big ole raucous family reunion was happening out in the oak tree. I delighted in this refreshing set of sounds; Summer is HERE!
I offer you a favorite centering mantra of mine– the one I repeated this morning as I soaked in the sights and sounds of an emerging season: “Now. Here. This.”
I learned of this lovely combination of words, as a centering practice, from a teacher-mentor, Susan Kilkus of Heartspace Coaching. I’ve actively adopted it as a way to bring me home to THIS space in time when I catch myself ruminating about the past, or worrying or daydreaming about the future.
… And, because I am an avid runner, I find it a useful series of words to say while I run, making it an active meditation.
Now. Here. This.
These three words could sound like a command, as in “Attention, Listen Up!” Except, in this case they are an invitation: Simple words with the power to call us back into the present moment.
NOW offers a reality check.
NOW allows us to be aware of what is present NOW in this moment. NOW is the timer set for ten minutes; NOW is when the minutes are ticking off one by one.
NOW keeps my thoughts from racing ahead into the future with warm-weather biking or digging in the dirt preparing garden rows. NOW lets me enjoy this emerging season with its melting snow, the sun on my face, the mushy, muddy ground, the bird song.
The power of NOW, of being this moment in time – instead of caught in our past, or projecting into the future, as we worry over, or anticipate an outcome – is we are actually able to respond authentically to what is happening around us and for us and through us. This morning, I could notice my anticipation and I could savor the particulars of a Monday morning in March.
HERE is about location – as in “I am here in this body – in this place – with this person.”
HERE I am, this woman sitting cross-legged; HERE I am on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016; HERE I am alone in a quiet house.
It is easy to abandon HERE; it is too uncomfortable to face where we are right now. As I write these words for this blog this morning, I notice my impatience that I’m not done with this article yet. I am anxious about running out of time to tackle other things on my list. My usual pattern is to calm anxiety with chocolate. Perhaps like me, you escape NOW by eating cookies, or distract yourself cleaning closets, or scrolling through Facebook posts.
How many times do we daydream because we don’t like where we are? How many times do we wish we were somewhere else – that we’ve already arrived at our destination: financial security, an established love relationship, business success, and so on? How many times do we ignore the person in front of us, as we rush to get things done – the laundry, the taxes, or the projects we brought home from work?
THIS invites us to notice the experience of the moment.
THIS is where I linger in my delight with the bird calls outside the window. THIS is when I tune into the water dripping from the eves. THIS is where I relish the comfy cushions I am sitting on, the blue and peach-colored sky as the sun rises above the neighborhood. THIS is where I notice my heart beating and my stiff legs.
What is happening right now in this time and place? If we aren’t aware of THIS, we are out of touch with our experiences and therefore we are not free to take helpful actions.
THIS is where I also sit with fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, or joy and delight – letting those emotions run their course. THIS is where I get to make a choice. Do I choose cookies or specific action on a to-do list?
Some questions I like to ask in moments of self-reflection, to bring myself back to THIS:
What is my experience, right now?
What is my mood?
What physical sensations are calling to me?
What is the thought stream of my mind?
What is my perspective in this moment – does it lean towards the negative or positive?
As Susan Kilkus says about the – “NOW HERE THIS” – practice:
“When we are with the experience of the moment we discover one of the most basic truths of life – that everything is subject to change and change can be kinder when we give it kind attention. Wisdom teaches us, when we let go of whatever has taken us away, and stand in the moment we have, life opens up and unfolds freely. It may not always be easy to face, but it is the only way for the best possibility to be revealed and created.”
Consider living into your day with this attitude:
Now at this moment, Here in this place, This is my experience.
See what opens for you. Sense what feels alive. Touch your life fully.