I turned on the car radio this morning and tuned into a music station that was playing holiday tunes. Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s officially Christmas season. Since I wasn’t in the mood, I switched stations. More of the same. And more on other stations. Ok, I give up. Or rather, should I give in? And to what? I’m not ready for the holiday fanfare, I want it to be quiet and slow for a while. But like I say when things don’t go my way, “it is what it is.” I teach my students to be in the present, not dwell in the past or fear for the future. I should at least follow my own teaching. Thich Nhat Hanh puts it perfectly when he says “breathing in, there is only the present moment. Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.” I find that if I can work really hard (and it is hard work) to whittle away any segments in the continuum of time before this moment ever arrived and stay away from the unknown of the future, that this moment actually is a wonderful moment. For instance, I’m looking out of my window right now at the early December morning sun, the shadows of what leaves are left on the trees dancing on my curtains, soft music drifting from my yoga room. My soul tells me that right at this moment, there really is nothing more perfect than Now.
For today only, think of what is going on in your daily life, notice how you are breathing, how you are standing (or sitting). Notice your thoughts. Are they moving through your mind so rapidly that it feels impossible to harness them? Wherever you are right now, be still. Stop moving. Open your ears to the sounds around you. Say to yourself as you inhale, “Peace grows in my heart.” As you breathe out, say “I am letting go of what does not serve me.” You may have to do this a few times, but with repetition, you can train your mind to jump the track of negative mental chatter onto one of compassion, stillness, and acceptance to what is happening right here, right now. After all, we only have this moment. There are no promises of five minutes from now. Anger and fear seem to rule our lives—the decisions we make, the reactions we have, the emotions we hold onto. But if anger and fear are the emotions we live with because of what has happened in the past or might happen in the future, we can more easily let go of them if we realize we are not in the past nor in the future. We are in the Now. And all is good, even if just for a moment.
Be still and know.