The Healing Power of the Present Moment
Janice Lynne Lundy, Editor
I discovered the power of the present moment only when I’d lost it.
Zen teacher, Reginald Ray, gives voice to my experience. “You develop a level of mindfulness through being sick that ordinary people don’t have and it becomes incredibly refined.”
Illness, for me, was the pathway to the present moment. Feeling, at the time, as if it was a curse to be flattened and energy-less, I learned that my “crash and burn” experience was, indeed, a “doorway to God,” as Rumi confessed.
When you can do nothing else but be fully present to yourself and your experience, breath by anxiety- or exhaustion-filled breath, you are jolted into awareness of what is truly going on in your world. You feel every cell in your body. You notice every mind blip. You feel the cool breeze drift through the room and watch the gossamer curtains dance along the windowsill because you can do nothing else.
And then ... then you become aware of a new kind of power that has taken root in you. The power to notice—to really see—what’s going on around you; to feel what is going in within you and how you respond to everything that enters your experience.
Some would call this “awakening”—and I sense this is true for me, as well as for millions of others whose lives are brought to a dead stop because you just can’t do anything else but be here. No where to go. No place to be. Just here. Just this experience.
And then lying there you begin to see and feel even more. You see how you may have missed moments, days, even years because you were hurrying and living in “Gotta Do” mode. “What’s next?” always trumped “What’s here?” because what needed to be accomplished seemed so much more important than what was. Cleaning a house to perfection took precedence over play. Meeting business deadlines beat beach walking and the experience of warm sand squishing between toes.
You begin to understand what Tara Brach meant when she said, “When I am in a rush my heart isn’t as responsive to myself and my world.” In losing my health, I rediscovered myself and my world. Living in the present moment became "the way," a spiritual path unique unto itself.
The power of the present moment affects each of us differently. Typically, when this way of being opens for us we find ourselves not only more aware, but in touch, grateful; connected to self, nature, soul, to others in intoxicating new ways. The present moment feels like a gift and one to be ever mindful of so that its riches keep revealing themselves.
Our writers this month share a myriad of perspectives on the power of the present moment. We hope you will benefit from their viewpoints and share in their personal stories. Never has it been more important for us to be fully present to life as it is so we can co-create the world of our hopes and dreams!
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