“If not now, Zen?” Ok it’s a play on words, from a common expression, but it makes some deep sense! So much of our lives is spent in the “not now:” troubled, burdened, driven by the question “When?” When will I get the laundry done? Pay the taxes? Lose weight? When will I find my true love? When will I have enough money? Time? Happiness?
“When” is followed closely by the usually-delusional answer…”Then…”
When x happens, then I will…
We’d all do well to note how often “when-then” takes over. Rarely? Sometimes? Often?
A Little Game, part 1
Set you timer, iPhone, computer, watch, android or just look at a clock and give yourself 30 seconds to fill in as many “when/then’s” as you can.
When… then I……
That’s us living in an imagined future. It doesn’t work that well and we lose a lot of the present, real time, live, synchronous, experiencing of what is.
But that’s not all that takes us away from now. Falling back into the past is equally tempting. If only I had… done this, taken the other road, tried harder, been better…. now I would…..
Try that one on for size. Ever do that? Second guess? Regret? Fantasize a different choice, way past the time it could have been made? Sometimes the “If only” is much more stern and unforgiving. I should have… same story, playing in the past. It’s even more unhelpful when we add the rest of the world into our dissatisfied longings for a different past.
If only he/she/they had (or hadn’t)… then I…. fill in the blank with all those people (and institutions and circumstances) we blame and the fantasy of how great things would be if only….
A Little Game, part 2
30 seconds again, same secret rules:
List the If only’s that pull you away from the Really is that this one moment offers us.
Both the past and future weigh on us like heavy stones. But we are, after all, human, so we will inevitably do this past and future game. Take a breath and smile.
What about now? Right now? This breath, this thought, this feeling. What about this moment and the choices we make in it (without all the if’s and when’s). The choices we make are our best guess, best impulse, best understanding or best intuition. Hiking lost in the woods, choosing this person over that, buying a lottery ticket, we can’t know where our choices will lead. There are never any simple cause and effect outcomes. I can practice swinging that bat all day long, and when the pitch comes, I might get a homerun. I might strike out. And then there’s a new moment to be in. Just as it is.
Presence, we call it in psychosynthesis. Presence, as contentless awareness and will. How profound is that? Just me, just here, just now. And note the “contentless” part! Just me, here, now, without a limiting story. Breathing in, I smile, breathing out I smile. And full permission given for breathing in without a smile, breathing out with whatever we are, in the moment. Breathing in I cry, breathing out I sigh. Breathing in I am curious, breathing out I am hungry. A lifetime of breaths in which to live.
It’s a game of hide and seek and the time has come. “Come back, come back wherever you are." Come back home, to Self, to now, to what is.
A Little Game, part 3
Be here now, for 30 seconds. Awareness of what is in body, feelings, mind, imagination, desire, intuition. Willing ourselves to stay here, now. And oh, the magic that awaits us in the here and now.
You’ve won the game.