Stop looking, just be.
This morning I meditated. And I found myself looking for this feeling of no-mind. Actively searching for it, this state where thoughts cease to be. For me, it’s for a few tens of seconds, maybe a couple minutes I can be in that state. In no-thought, completely present sitting on a pair of cushions.
But today I found myself looking for that state and I couldn’t find it. Because I was looking. And eventually I told myself, You’re disregarding where your mind is right now, for some ‘state’ you want to be in. Let go, stop looking, just be wherever you are.
And I did, and that state came. It came because I stopped looking. That’s also what they say about happiness. You’ll never find happiness if you keep looking for it; it only comes when you’ve stopped thinking about it. But most people have this idea of “there.” This time when this one thing, or this sequence of things will happen and you’ll be happy.
But really, when do you think you’ll finally get “there”? When do you think you’ll be able to stop seeking and finally arrive?
It’s an obscure moment in the future.
But we search. We look ahead and completely forget what’s happening right now. The present moment is a means to an end.
Nothing has ever happened that wasn’t in the present moment, and nothing will ever happen that’s not in the present moment. But to most people, the present moment is an inconvenience we have to put up with until we get to “the point” when we’ll be content; at peace; still.
How do you place yourself in the present moment?
The simple answer is to feel your body. To feel your body, to look at the things around you, and be there. Completely. Feeling, sensing, being with everything around you. That’s easy enough. Not much to it, actually. But what happens once you’ve done that for a few seconds and it’s gone swimmingly?
Your mind wants to jump in, reassert control.
That’s a beautiful tree, It says.
As soon as you have that thought, you’ve lost the present moment. Because now the beautiful tree is a figment of your memory that’s been imbued with the label, Beautiful.
But then you go, A-ha, not today my dear mind! And you jump back into the present moment. Then your mind tears you out of it again. Continuously. It’s a constant reminding of yourself to stay here, now. To not jump into your mind. It’s so difficult because you naturally want to make sense of what you’re seeing. Your mind wants to do something with what you’re seeing. Your mind wants to judge the tree, whether it’s gnarled or beautiful, tall or short, Oak or Maple. Your mind wants to apply the label tree, and then access the memories of all the tree’s you’ve ever seen.
And by trying to make sense of what you’re seeing or experiencing, you stop seeing or experiencing. You lose the moment you’re in, in favor of your mind identifying, cataloging, and planning your next move.