More life, less effort

“‘Are you able to have a little room where you can close the door and be alone?’

‘Yes.’

‘That is your cave…That is your sacred mountain. That is where you will find the kingdom of God.'”

In “Autobiography of a Yogi,” Paramahansa Yogananda runs to the Himalayas to find holy men. A saint he encounters chides him for running away from home (with his guru) to find adventure. The saint says Yogananda should not seek God by running far and wide but rather by stilling himself wherever he is.

This spearheaded me when I read it. Lately, I’ve been overcome with everything I have left to accomplish in life. I want to develop as a painter and musician. Read more about sustainability and gender issues. Write more poetry. Work on the garden. And somehow, fit in day-to-day duties, work, people, spontaneity, and spirituality.

The world is far too vast and interesting for one lifetime!

Is life a blank slate that we have a limited time to fill? A 90-minute videotape we must cram with as many interesting experiences and activities as we can?

In the end, what do we have to show for it? Who’s going to view a copy in 300 years when you and everyone you know is long gone? Why will it even matter?

When I think about life as a process, rather than a static box I need to fulfill, the question changes from what I do to who I am. Nothing ultimately makes me happier than becoming in touch with the part of me that is pure consciousness (rather than staying entrapped within the seductive haze of the ego). The Now is pure awareness. No future concerns, no past regrets.

Self-realization transforms the smallest experiences, from sipping water to gazing at the sky, into ecstasy. When the change shifts within yourself, you don’t have to stuff the world in your pocket. Instead of constantly working toward the next adventure, everything becomes vibrant. You can just be, and you do more with less.

Find a room and try to be still for a few minutes. See what happens.

“The life of sensation is the life of greed. It requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.” (Annie Dillard)

Eckhart Tolle on finding stillness now.

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The Elusive Present Moment

Every now and then, the present moment slides into my awareness.

The autopilot self is an incessant whirlwind,  
Mechanically distracting itself.

On some level, we (at least I) are afraid of simply being, which would *supposedly* be completely dull and empty.

We live so often in a haze of habitual thought patterns, like a swarming cloud that floats a few feet above our actual existence.  I find I unconsciously divert so much  energy toward escaping from the present moment that I forget, continually, its EVER-refreshing beauty and simplicity. Never fails.

We watch TV. Compulsively socialize. Walk the dog. We even bring the newspaper into the bathroom so we’re not left with alone with ourselves for those precious few minutes.

Why does the idea of emptiness appear so threatening? What harm do we think could possibly come from simply existing, without a train of thought to cling to or a task to complete or a shiny picture to look at? When I truly think about it, emptiness sounds divine.

I’m learning to identify certain thought patterns that cycle endlessly on repeat. Which leads nowhere except the haze. Depending upon my self-image, my possessions, even relationships and ideas…leads only to the haze. Nothing can replace pure consciousness, moment to moment. I’m not saying not to think or have ideas and relationships with people. Just recognize when you’re using them to fill a void.

 Once I settle into the present, I remember how the moment is a sanctuary. There’s no future to dread or anticipate. No past to dwell upon. Nothing can hurt you. Nothing really exists except the Now…might as well experience it to the fullest.

This article from Psychology Today got me started on the present – six steps to living in the moment.