This Moment–All Moments: Wonder

I’ve been reading too much recently to really write other than morning pages, but this (and a couple other entries to come) have been quite amazing and worthy of being shared.


I woke up in the middle of the night and was unable to go back to sleep. Oddly, I feel fine-ish. The fatigue is starting to creep in, but I have coffee at hand.

Man, it is easy to lose focus when tired. I’m realizing that now. Everything is pulling me away from writing this now. However, this is a moment to practice–as all moments are.

There is so much here–the entire universe–in this moment. Refrigeration systems click and whir behind me. The man across the table cuts into his pastry–the tines of the fork cut through and clink on the porcelain plate. Music jingles on the speaker above me. Others all sit at tables–looking at computers, reading newspapers, sipping coffee, or simply staring off into space. Baristas chatter about the day at the counter behind me. The front door opens with a brief whoosh of air, and another customer walks in. Cars zoom by in both direction out the window in front of me… I could go on.

Yet, it would be so easy for someone to say that this is boring here–that nothing is happening. What is boredom–looking for something else, something more interesting than now, here? What are we looking for? Can this fidgety desire be seen and questioned when it arises?

Really, all manner of things are happening in this moment. On a scientific level–molecules of gas are zipping around the room, gaining energy from the IR radiation–heat–streaming in through the glass door. Elsewhere in the room, air flutters and the gas loses that energy as cold air blows in from a vent in the ceiling–an AC unit working to keep the room cool despite that IR radiation streaming in–defiant for customers’ pleasure… At the same time, customers breathe in this gas, going through tubes, bronchioles, and the bloodstream. It is distributed throughout their bodies and fuels the chemical reactions that keep them alive. There’s a huge amount of complexity to this organic machine–churning though chemical reactions and physiological processes which take years for doctors to study and yet still holds many mysteries for the inquiring minds of science. Furthermore, this complex being is one that is billions of years in the making! Millions of years of evolution have brought rogue protein chains to this complex, self-aware animal writing these words today. Beyond that, there were billions of years involved in the formation of this planet, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. This moment is connected to all of history. It is an emanation of all–a manifestation of a complex web of karma, reaching all the way back to the Big Bang.

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Understandably, there may not be enough “going on” at the superficial level to hold our attention, but this moment is still a miracle, as all are.


May this inspire you to look at every moment with wonder.

Gassho!

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Stopping to Look – The Invitation of Every Moment

[After journaling at length about a frustrating morning.]

I stopped just now and focused on my coffee cup. The swirls of oil film across the surface, moving slowly, dreamily. The steam wafts off the top, lazily unfurling into swirling waves, loops, and whorls. I touch the handle, looking at my single finger lining up with the edges of the curve. I focus on the sense of touch–the smoothness of the glaze, the comfort of the solid pottery bearing the weight of my finger. I feel my touch extend to the table bearing the weight of the cup, the table’s rest on the floor, and the floor extending to the entire room of people around me and the whole world outside the window just beyond them.

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It’s so easy to get involved in our own pain to the point of overlooking the entire universe outside our heads, but it’s all there–just a breath away. All it takes is only a second to stop and look. The best part? Every moment is an invitation to do just that.

Slowing Down to See Our Place–Beyond Solipsism

Here’s another musing from my morning pages that I thought worth sharing.


It’s interesting how some mornings just feel awkward and clumsy. It’s almost like the entire world is out to get you. I just had a pile of clumsiness a moment ago. What to do? I noticed that the first instinct is to blame things–as though my phone could be actively choosing to defy me–or in a more general way, we can say that today is a “bad day”–as though the stars were aligned in the sky in such a way as to make everything bad for us today. However, how often are such things a sign that we are not paying full attention to what we are doing or that we are doing things poorly–half-assed?

I just slowed down and tried to be mindful, and guess what? The world wasn’t out to get me. Stuff remained stuff, lifeless, obeying the laws of physics, but my interpretation changed from making the world about “me” into looking at my action in the world. Suddenly, it was easier rather than harder. The separation of victimhood disappeared, and I flowed with it all again.

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How often do we interpret the world and our lives like this? It seems a more or less constant thing, and I don’t say any of this in judgment, merely in measurement of the banality of all this. We see the world through our own two eyes, always within our own perspective. Is it really any wonder then that we so readily see it in terms of me?

Even Western metaphysics struggles with this solipsism. The one thing that Descartes could not doubt was the existence of his thinking self. Thus, the I that thinks, that feels, that experiences is the ground for all truth. Yet, is this even sensible? This has not answered what “I” is as thinking thing and assumes that the grammatical description of subject doing activity to object (in this case: “I doubt everything”) is an accurate description. In this sense, I mean that it is accurate that there is a separate “I” from the doubts. What if the doubts are the “I”? What if the thinker is not separate from the thinking–unfolding together?


What I would add to this fragment is that we take our position as solid, enduring identity which the world revolves around far too seriously. Then, everything becomes our own personal world, and we see ourselves both as separate from our actions and as the center of a drama/tragedy/set of happenings. In truth, you stubbed your toe, dropped your phone, and spilled your coffee. None of these were out to get you. You weren’t mindful. Your mindfulness slips even more when you get angry at these things and say that life is too hard, that it all sucks, etc. You could instead choose to laugh at yourself for your various slips and goofs, taking ownership of them as your own missteps, and if the world is responding to you, it’s reminding you to wake up to yourself and what you are doing.

May this help you look at even the smallest of your interactions and engagements differently. May such new insight bring you the ability to laugh instead of being angry and be attentive and purposeful instead of continuing to be clumsy.

Gassho!