This very moment is a gift, the present they call it, and this gift comes in the form of a teacher. Every moment of our lives, good or bad, is here to teach us in some way or another. We usually cannot fully understand what exactly we are being taught but we can know for sure that all the variables which have brought us to this moment have not just been a chaotic series of events but have been ordained and planned by a higher power. There is great purpose and reason not only in our lives as a whole but also day by day, minute by minute. It is our choice on whether or not we use the present moment to awaken and fulfill our purpose or to put up walls and barriers preventing lessons learned because of fear and ignorance.
I cannot speak in confidence for everyone else out there, but in my own life I constantly find myself reaching out for something else to find peace and happiness. There are fears and demons hiding within myself and most of the time I’m trying to find ways to ignore them or somehow pretend to deal with them. Yesterday I suddenly realized that I have not been fully experiencing the emotions within myself. Once I broke through the wall of fear I realized that I still have a great deal of pain and anger. I sat in silent meditation to experience these emotions in order to let it go but I had trouble finding them. Then coming out of my standing frame, an accident happened in which I tumbled out of my chair and fell to the floor. In all seriousness laying there on the floor actually helped me to find some of that pain I was looking for.
One of the meditations I have been doing recently is called tonglen meditation. In this type of meditation you do exactly the opposite of what seems natural. On the in-breath you actually breathe in the pain and suffering of your life and then on the out-breath you let it all go. It’s not about believing that one day I will be able to let go of all the suffering I feel. It’s becoming at peace with the suffering and realizing that I can feel the pain and experience it but be able to let it go at the same time. Life is not about finding a certain place in time where everything is okay. It’s about realizing that this moment is here for a reason and being able to experience all that goes along with it, all that we feel and all that occurs. Until one truly faces their demons, they will only arise again and again.
I realize that this path is not for everyone. It is truly the path of the spiritual warrior. It is not easy by any means. Sometimes I’ll be sitting in meditation, feeling all the pain and suffering of my life. Not that my life has been all that bad but there is a great deal of pain there, as there is for all of us. I find that even when I am feeling good, I sit and look within myself and suddenly I find anger, sadness, and resentment. I sometimes wonder why on earth do I sit here and find all of these uncomfortable emotions? Many times I just want to shut it all down deep inside of me and find some way not to think about it. But then it just sits there and festers and always arises sooner or later. One of my favorite authors Pema Chodron describes it as constantly pealing away the layers of armor which surrounds us. As we face and fully experience all that is us, we slowly peel away layer after layer.
The goal is to fully experience each moment with nonattachment. Most suffering is not caused by the actual emotions or events of our lives. Samsara it is called which is a cycle of suffering which is caused by believing that happiness should be constant. The moment we are happy we think that it should never go away and then the moment it does we are constantly trying to find some way to get it back. A cycle occurs where we are never satisfied. Living in this manner we fail to experience the teachings of this moment and therefore never learn the lessons which we are meant to learn. Instead of pealing away the layers of armor, piece by piece more is added.
I sense an air of negativity in what I’m saying here. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been frustrated with my path as a spiritual warrior. I am tired of the present moment and tired of constantly having to face my demons. So many times I look within and try to accept what the present moment is trying to teach me. With peace I try and except God’s will but at the same time I fight it not wanting to believe that this is the path I am meant to take. Yet I realize that the times I’m able to breathe in and breathe out, and experience all that is me, eventually I find a feeling of peace. I find a love, a kindness, and a gentle spirit which is at the core of my being. I find this and I realize that my purpose is being fulfilled.
There is great joy, love, and happiness to be found in the experience of being a human being. There is also great sorrow, pain, and anger. It is not our purpose to find one or the other and accept it. I believe we are meant to go through this life experiencing every aspect of our being inside and out. We are meant to experience it all as is our purpose. May I accept the present moment as my teacher and learn all that it has to offer so that I may live a fulfilled life, a life which I am destined to live.