To Live in This Moment, Unconstrained
A student of mine had been writing a lot to get through a challenging experience. She had a tough time sleeping for all the thoughts (memories, coulda-done’s, how-could-they’s) and feelings (fear, hurt, trapped, angry). So she would journal. And it was getting a little better, but it often didn’t feel too much like it.
So she considered this question: what if she wrote it all out, everything, and then scratched off anything that wasn’t happening right now - what would be left?
Something clicked. She discovered that the experience she went through isn’t something she needs to dissect, analyze, figure out, or keep alive. She actually has the power to finish that chapter, close the notebook, and stick it on her shelf.
We can always look at our memories of experiences and see new things if there are new things to be seen; we'll always have them as a lesson to learn from, an experience to inform us. The memories may always be there, but we don't have to live within those memories, as if there’s no other option. Our being needn’t be constrained by those memories. We can be free.
The first time I went through that exercise, it was in a Landmark Worldwide course. I had pages of thoughts written down, but when I scratched off everything that wasn’t happening right in that moment, there was only a single sentence remaining.
It was as if the dark isolation of my struggle was suddenly brightened by a rapidly widening ray of sunlight. Nothing that happened had been negated, but neither is it happening right now.
Most of the time we’re living in our thought-world of memory, fantasy, fear, and opinion. Even when we don’t think that we’re living in our thoughts, we often are. We mostly interact with our own ideas, interpretations, labels, and categorizations, not with the objects and beings of our life as they are.
So many of us adults and teachers have also lost track of what’s actually happening, right now. We live in concept-plastered worlds and think we’re interacting with things as they are.
Of course, most of us know this. Many of us even think that we could get more present in our lives, to live “in the moment” and not in the fantasy or nostalgia of our thinking.
But we actually can’t get any more present than we already are: we are only ever present.
The practice, or trick perhaps, is to stay aware of more than just our enticing world of Thought in all its obvious and subtle, visual and language forms. It’s a practice of lifting the veil, and we can practice experiencing this moment more fully by first seeing and then seeing through our abundant and limiting filters and thinking.
This moment: the only place that love, compassion, joy, connection, passion, hope, and ease can actually live.
That’s what we want for our young people too: to live in this moment, unconstrained in their ability to connect with themselves, with others, and with the universe.
Thanks for reading ❤️.
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