Living in the Moment: Try this! (2/5)

How do we stop worrying?

In particular, how do we stop worrying about tomorrow?

This is a complex issue. Our worry has many sources.

But focusing on the present moment, not thinking about the future, not thinking about tomorrow morning for example, is definitely not a good technique to use to stop yourself from worrying. (It is not a good “technique” to use because it is incomplete, and more than a little bit confused. We’ll return to this point later.)

Sure, focusing on the present moment can work for a time. Or rather, it can seem to work for a time. But those thoughts about the past and the future will arise no matter what you do – if not consciously, then unconsciously – if not in your waking life, then in your dreams.

If you’ve heard and believe that living in the present moment is the key to enlightenment, or at least the key to ending worry, then you may want to read the next posts.

It is in the next posts that I want to share with you something very special, something that I’ve learned about the relationship between living in the present moment and worrying.

But for now, I’ll leave you with this experiment:

Try to consciously not live in the present moment. Can you do it? (What does that even mean – ‘to consciously not live in the present moment’?)


Living in the Moment: Worrying (1/5)

I remember feeling like this sometimes, maybe you do too.

It is Sunday night. You have to get up and go to work tomorrow morning. You start dwelling upon this thought, “I have to go to work tomorrow.” You cannot help it, you imagine yourself sitting at your desk, staring at a stack of papers and a computer, and having to deal with overly demanding people all day.

You worry.

You try not to think about it, you try to live in the moment. But it is useless. You just can’t help it. Your mind keeps throwing up images of tomorrow.

You continue to worry, until you find some distraction . . . maybe a book and some wine.

So much for living in the moment, so much for years of meditation – you can’t even face a routine Sunday night without worrying about tomorrow morning.

What is one to do?

I want to return to this question in the next post.

See you then.


Describing Enlightenment Again . . .

Suddenly it happens . . . there is no separation between you and your experiences. You are no longer on the inside looking out, nor on the outside looking in. But rather the inside and the outside are one, and you are that one.

There is nothing to grasp . . .

I am listening to my 2 year old daughter sing while I type these words.

She is sitting beside me on the sofa.

We look at one another and smile; she begins to giggle through her song.

Now she is laughing.

This is it . . .

I cherish her and this moment.

This is enlightenment. (Well . . . one definition anyway.)


Something happened . . .

Midway through my 16th year a major shift in the way I perceived the world and myself occurred.

I started to have various types of astral/lucid dreams. And it suddenly occurred to me that I was not, at least not primarily, a physical being.

Oh that sounded so New Age. Sorry about that . . .

Anyway, lucid dreaming really threw me for a loop. Before this time I viewed dreams as pretty pale echoes of waking reality.

But everything changed when I began to have lucid dreams. They often seemed more real than waking life. (Lucid dream reality is usually less stable than waking reality, but the lucid dream experiences themselves are often richer – more colourful, more vibrant, etc. . .)

Have you ever tested your dream senses in order to see how real they are? Reading in a dream is very hard because the printed dream page rarely stays constant for long enough to read more than a few words. However when, in a dream, I feel the texture of a brick wall, or taste the sweetness of a piece of chocolate cake, or say listen to the beautiful sound of a Mozart piano concerto, I am frequently amazed by the depth and richness of the experience.

Lucid dreaming was a major turning point for me.

Before having lucid dreams I think I always defined myself pretty much as my brain – as the physical. But when I was fifteen I began to realize that what was most intimately me were my experiences.

Even though I more or less still believed that my brain created my experiences, I considered that the moment to moment experiences themselves were more me than my brain – for my experiences were really all I could know directly; and the source of my experiences, whatever that might be, a brain or a soul, seemed secondary to me.

Primarily, I identified myself as whatever I happened to be experiencing in any given moment.

I understand myself a little differently today, but that shift 19 years ago was, I believe, one of the most crucial and necessary steps along my “spiritual journey.” It was the shift from the outer world to the inner world. (I very loosely define the inner world as ‘experience itself’ and the outer world as ‘physical/spiritual reality.’) (Transcending the inner world of moment to moment experience is another matter altogether and I’ll save that topic for future posts.)

What about you – do you identify primarily with the inner or the outer world (or neither)? Is this even the right question? Anyway, before I make this question too complicated, what would you say – are you an inny or an outy?