The (Re)Discovery of the Present

It was not particularly special but again, something was very different. The light in the room  made the peripheral things glow with a trembling brightness that felt different. The weight of my body in the chair was different. The waves of sound and the eyes´ glittering movements of focus and unfocus too seemed different.

It was different.

Every breath was followed, in and out, with the usual attentiveness I give to this, my daily practice, but today a bond was revealed. There existed a quiet merging of the me that was breathing, and the objects around me which were neither overly focused upon nor ignored. As is the practice, they were allowed to be–arise, sustain, and fall, as all conditioned things behave, but now, the me that was following the breath had entered a newer space. A space of quiet and focus, for sure, but also a space of profound unity. The sounds still rang in my ears: the sliding slam of the van door in the parking lot behind me, the people walking and talking about their new classes, the occasional car in the distance, and the crinkly sound of feet on wet pavement, some hurrying, others more plodding all came in and went of their own accord. The thoughts? They too were there, as always, popping up in their constant, often irritating way, but I have long learned to allow them their roaming space and they will eventually, if all goes well, go on their merry way while I bring my attention to the ever flowing breath. In and out, in and out. I ride the breaths with focused but relaxed attention, feeling the in breath as it automatically charges its way into my belly, then subtly slowing down the exhale, ever-so-slightly, I stay carefully “on” the out breath, “riding” it to its end at the bottom of my belly and watch the magical transition from out-breath to in-breath occur, bringing oxygen-infused new blood throughout my body in a process repeated thousands of times daily which I otherwise never notice. But which keeps me alive.

But now my attention was luminous. The act of focusing and the focused object (the breaths) were woven together. It all became effortess. The light in the room and my bodily sensations were indistinguishable. Time was forgotten and instead I was bound to the moment in its ever-changing movement from “this” moment to “that” moment, fully focused, awake, hearing the same things, being the same man I was earlier and yet, it was complete in a way I have felt only a few times in my life. My absorption rested on no premise nor theoretical presumption and it allowed itself to be experienced without any contrivance of mine.

I had discovered, or, better still, rediscovered the Present. It was full and complete, it was even and undisturbed, it was present and filled with Presence and yet it was completely ordinary and apparently accessible to me all the time. But this time, I “caught” it. I caught it in the act of being there, in its ubiquitous nature, like a snapshot – this is why I say it was “luminous”, it was as if an interior light was suddenly turned on to reveal an Eternality in the moment, and I remained still and  concentrated, but now I was filled with a joy. A joy without a self to enjoy it. This was “bliss” for sure. It was neither tied to this or that, nor to me or the objects of my attention but experienced on its own terms. It was nothing special and it was extraordinary. And it was appreciated.


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