The other day, we had a retreat (on Zoom) and someone pointed out before the retreat started that all she was looking for were moments. Just moments of peace. Simple moments of resting. Moments when anxiety was not high, moments when restlessness was not at the forefront. Moments of simply being.
You’ve surely experienced moments like that throughout your life. Moments when everything was OK, just as it was. Maybe you were alone or with others. Maybe you were active or passive. Maybe it was in the middle of everyday living, when a very simple, true, complete and peaceful moment happened.
It’s those simple moments that are your birthright, that can come as result of being alive—it’s those uncontrived moments that are gently uncovered, encouraged and supported in the process of meditation. In those moments, confusion about what is true, anxiety and frustration with the world and yourself, and restlessness--all of that falls away.
In those moments, decisions about how to think, what to do, where to go, gently subside…and the simple truth of being shows up.
The truth of being—what does that mean? Before you can be anything, you have to be. Just look at these statements: I am seeing, I am feeling, I am listening, I am smelling, I am tasting, I am thinking. The first words are always “I am.”
Now read these statements: I am a man, I am a woman, I am old, I am young, I am white, I am black, I am conservative, I am liberal, I am wealthy, I am poor, I am this or that. Again, the first words are “I am.”
So you have to be, before you can be anything. The simple truth of being is always the first thing. And that is what meditation helps uncover: discovering the essential. Fortunately it is pleasant. It is restful, it is relief.
But how to get there? That’s the practice of meditation. It starts by trusting yourself--your own experience. It starts with where you are at, right here and right now. It always starts in the present moment—it starts with your body and your mind right now— thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling.
By noticing what you are doing and gently following it back to its source—right into the heart of your being, you can relax right into one of those peaceful moments.
In a moment like that, you’ll know what is true. In a moment of simply being you can see yourself more clearly, you can see the world for what it is. And you can come out of that with more stability, clarity and confidence.
With practice, those moments happen more and more often, and gradually they stretch into one long, lovely moment of being in the here and now. That one moment can become the doorway to transformation and lead to freedom.