Dear Still Water Friends,
One of the songs coming from the mindfulness tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh begins:
I have arrived,
I am home,
In the Here
And in the Now.
What does it mean to be in the here and now? What is presence…and what is non-presence? We have numerous mindfulness practices for bringing our attention into the present moment during sitting, walking, and even eating meditation. How can we further develop our capacity to be here, now, so that, no matter what we are doing, we are grounded in presence?
I hope you will join me this Thursday evening after our meditation period to explore presence—what it is and what it isn’t—and to share several practices for becoming more present in every moment.
In excerpts from Our Appointment with Life below, Thich Nhat Hanh underscores the importance of being in the here and now, and touches on one of the ways we can become more present.
You are invited to join us this Thursday evening for our meditation and our program focused on being here, now.
The best times to join our Thursday evening gatherings are just before the beginning of our 7 p.m. meditation, just before we begin walking meditation (around 7:35), and just after our walking meditation (around 7:45). If you arrive after 7:05 pm, the door to Crossings may be locked. If it is locked, someone will come out to open it at 7:30, then again at 7:50.
Life is Found in the Present
by Thich Nhat Hanh from Our Appointment with Life
“To return to the present is to be in contact with life. Life can be found only in the present moment, because “the past no longer is” and “the future has not yet come.” Buddhahood, liberation, awakening, peace, joy, and happiness can only be found in the present moment. Our appointment with life is in the present moment. The place of our appointment is right here, in this very place.”
“Peace, joy, liberation, awakening, happiness, Buddhahood, the source, everything we long for and seek after can only be found in the present moment. To abandon the present moment in order to look for these things in the future is to throw away the substance and hold onto the shadow. In Buddhism, “aimlessness” (apranihita) is taught as a way to help the practitioner stop pursuing the future and return wholly to the present. Aimlessness is sometimes called wishlessness, and it is one of the “three doors to liberation.” (The other two are emptiness and signlessness.) To be able to stop pursuing the future allows us to realize all the wonderful things we seek are present in us, in the present moment. Life is not a particular place or a destination. Life is a path. To practice walking meditation is to go without needing to arrive. Every step can bring us peace, joy, and liberation. That is why we walk in the spirit of aimlessness. This is no way to liberation, peace, and joy; peace and joy are themselves the way. Our appointment with the Buddha, with liberation, and with happiness is here and now. We should not miss this appointment.”
“Fear of the unexpected leads many people to live a constricted and anxious life. No one can know in advance the misfortunes which may happen to us and our loved ones, but if we learn to live in an awakened way, living deeply every moment of our life, treating those who are close to us with gentleness and understanding, then we will have nothing to regret when something happens to us or to them. Living in the present moment, we are able to be in touch with life’s wonderful, refreshing, and health-giving phenomena, which allow us to heal the wounds in ourselves. Every day we become more wonderful, fresh, and healthy.”