There is a lot of information out there about living in the moment. Zen practitioners will focus on the present moment, meditation focuses on each breath, poets and writers talk about being present and enjoy each moment as if it were the last, long distance runners get in “the zone” and feel each step...
I have always dismissed this as “yeah, there’s something to that but I can’t use it, so I won’t bother with it”, however as I’ve gotten older, and after the first two years of the pandemic, a change happened. I can’t quite pinpoint when or why, but I found myself thinking about time, the present moment, and how it all unfolds.
I think it started over a conversation with a friend about whether animals understand the passage of time. We went deep into the philosophy of trying to think like animals and what it would be like to think about only the present moment as a “I need to survive” step. Each moment being forced to make decisions that can dictate whether the next moment you will be alive, hurt, or dead.
That conversation got me researching a bit. I read about our hunter-gatherer ancestors and how they also lived moment to moment, searching for food, and making decisions about the next steps. I also began reading about meditation, more specifically Zazen, or sitting meditation. Focusing on breathing.
I admit I can’t meditate, not in the sense you’d expect. My mind goes to very dark places (as my past life has had really violent and brutal moments), however I have experienced intense moments of meditative state while on acupuncture sessions. During those sessions I’m forced to lay still, with needles over my body. After a while, my mind goes past the dark and into a quiet, calm, and almost empty place. I can sense every breath, every twitch of my muscles, every nerve being affected by the needles. At that moment I don’t care about the past, or the future. I just care about the sensation in that moment, followed by the sensation of the next moment.
It’s a stream of current moments.
After each acupuncture session my mind feels at peace, attuned to the environment in ways I can’t describe. Focused and alert, with only the present. No problems, no calendar, no stress.
It makes life simple.
I think that’s the key and that’s the awesome power of that. Still, it’s hard to tap into that.
But imagine that... Imagine living like our ancient ancestors or like animals, focusing intently on the current moment. Giving it all, now.
Ah... I need to find how. I need to find the entrance to that world.