The Art of Being Present

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly. –Buddha

What moment do we have other than this?

The past is an illusion long gone. The future is not yet made manifest.

Each moment of our lives lands as a dew drop upon the lotus. Delicate, unique, irreplaceable. To look upon it with full attention and unfettered gaze reveals its precious and inimitable perfection. This magic moment, a crack between past and future, is an Infinity of existence; never seen before, and never to be seen again.

Can we not Be as the lotus enveloping the drop?
Does the lotus analyze and compare?
Is the lotus anticipating the dew drops yet to be?
Or does it embrace this diamond - liquid, delicate, and evanescent, and open its petals to experience the All?

Can you recall in your life a sudden revelation of beauty, deep serenity, a spontaneous awakening to Unity, excitement, joy, and vibrancy that stilled your mind and opened your heart? Ever ponder how you were able to perceive this flash of Shangri-La secreted between your history and your expectations? What is the Secret to reentering this often all too brief state of acceptance and Bliss?

The key is to both embrace and let go of each moment simultaneously. To participate and witness at the same time. In doing this, it is perfectly possible to create a Zen-like process of attentiveness to, and reverence for, your everyday experience. Being Present to the experience of our life, moment by moment, can help awaken our capacity for extraordinary joy, freedom, compassion, and creativity.

All authentic spiritual traditions have as part of their process a centering of consciousness on the power of Now. The practices of Yoga, Taoism, Buddhism, and Tantra all involve meditation, attention, and conscious breathing. Just like the dance of breath, of both inhaling and exhaling without vacillation, we must balance will and surrender, yin and yang, Intention and letting go.

This process of freeing ourselves from our patterns, habits, compulsions, and unconscious drives is often referred to as “burning karma.” Our karma is the result of our actions, experiences, thoughts, emotions, and expectations. Our personal history is comprised of habits and subconscious drives which shape and maintain the prison of the small self in which we reside. We are at once the architects, wardens, and inmates of this institution. Unless we pardon ourselves for the crimes of complacency and inattention to our Higher Self, we will impose a life sentence upon ourselves.

Deliverance from the prison of our karmic patterning is an essential process for achieving the mastery of true emotional freedom and self-realization. In freeing ourselves from these self-imposed strictures, we develop the skills to create anew, rather than re-create over and over again what no longer serves the growth of our spirit. This freedom from karmic patterning results in self-knowledge, wisdom, and being Present with the Sublime.

Find an object – a burning candle, a flower, a dew bespeckled spider’s web. Still your mind and observe. What do you perceive? Use all your senses. Maybe write down your observations. Give yourself lots of time, don’t rush about with mental questing. Open yourself to the experience and to your observations. What do you notice? Take a deep, conscious breath and observe again. Pay attention with your mind. Assimilate with your body. What do you feel?

Through this process of stilling the mind, calming the emotions, and opening the doors of perception, you may become able, as Blake said, “To see a world in a grain of sand…heaven in a wild flower, (and) hold Infinity in the palm of your hand…”

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© 2009 Keith E. Hall and . All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rev. Keith Hall has studied, practiced, and taught T’ai Chi, Qi Gong (Chi Kung), Tantra, Emotional Release and Transmutation, Kundalini and Chakra Activation, and meditation for over 30 years. He has been a senior student of Tai Chi Master Yung-ko Chou, with permission to teach.

Rev. Hall has studied at various Mystery Schools across the world and with Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, S. Saraswati and others. In addition, he has studied Bioenergetics, Ba Gua (Pa qua), Tumo, Vipassana, Zen, Spiritual Massage, various Yogas, and many other Eastern and Western psychospiritual disciplines.

Rev. Hall has published articles on spiritual growth, meditation, and the Tantric and Taoist arts in numerous journals. He is an Ordained Metaphysical Interfaith Minister, and the Founder of Jade Garden Tantra and