We can really get ourselves tied up in knots trying to figure all this stuff out mentally—how this teaching compares to that teaching and which one is right and how the universe works and what it all means. And we can get swept away in stories about not being good enough, needing to improve. Whenever we notice that kind of mental activity happening, maybe it is possible to stop THINKING about all of this and instead simply allow ourselves to be fully aware of the present moment—the sounds of wind rustling leaves, whooshing traffic sounds, a horn honking, the cry of a bird, the scent of flowers, the smell of exhaust, the changing shapes and colors all around us, the sensations of breathing, all the different subtle tinglings and vibrations throughout the body. Can we simply be fully awake to the wonder and beauty of this present happening, just as it is, before it gets labeled, judged, analyzed and explained? Nothing that shows up needs to be resisted or regarded as a distraction: the sound of loud machinery, a barking dog that doesn’t stop yapping, too much heat, too much cold, an upset stomach, lots of busy thoughts, a fingerbiting compulsion that won’t let up….whatever it is, is it possible in this moment to simply let it all be exactly as it is?
And as thoughts arise (“This can’t be it, this
is just traffic noise, there has to be more than this, what about ultimate
reality and final enlightenment, I’ll never get it, I’m a hopeless case, this
isn’t working, so-and-so said it was all about bla bla bla”), is it possible to
SEE that these thoughts are merely thoughts—old, conditioned
stories-beliefs-ideas that are not actually true? Can we listen to them in the
same way we listen to the traffic sounds, as simply little bursts of energy
that come and go? Is it possible to rest in the utter simplicity of what is,
just as it is? Nothing needs to be attained, nothing needs to be pushed away,
nothing needs to be different. Simply the texture of this moment, exactly the
way it is, however it is…pleasant or unpleasant.
Even if we feel tense, agitated, restless or anxious, even if we are full of thoughts that seem as persistent as deer flies or mosquitoes, even if we are hyperventilating with anxiety or compulsively biting our fingers, what would it mean, right now, to allow ALL of that to simply be as it is? Instead of labeling and judging it, instead of condemning how it is, instead of resisting it and fighting against it and trying to stop it, instead of the endlessly looping stories about why it is the way it is and what it means and how it needs to go away and what we should do to get rid of it, is it possible to simply let it be, to experience it as bare sensation without a story?