Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Grounding in the Present


Living in the Only Place and Time

Tolerating the Preciousness

Oct 7, 2021

Saying For Today: Think of this - something so wonderful - life - that we must habituate ourselves to tolerate it.

Calendula Drenched In Sunday Morning Showers

Calendula Drenched in Sunday Morning Showers

* * *

A follower said to the Sage, "I just can't seem to live in the moment." The Sage replied, "I want you to go and sit with this question, 'How can I not live in the only place and time I can live?'"

* * *

In The Citidel of Awareness, Anam Thubten tells of an awakening of a monk who had studied the nondual way of Dzogchen, a Vajrayana path.

I heard one story about a monk who was an abbot, or khenpo, of a monastery... . He was well-learned and studied all the Buddhist sutras and tantras. But he felt he never had even a glimpse of the true meaning of Dzogchen, and he wanted to have an experience of it. He set off to study with the various contemporary Dzogchen masters at that time. Yet even after receiving the profound teachings from them, he felt he didn't get the meaning experientially. On his way back, the khenpo ran into an ordinary lama living in a village and shared his experience. Then the lama said, "I'm not a Dzogchen master, but let's just sit together and pray." Since this lama was not a Dzogchen master, the khenpo didn't have any expectations or resistance. So they sat together and a huge opening happened where he spontaneously understood Dzogchen directly. He had a profound insight.

* * *

From about 1600, "to expect," originally meaning "to look at thoroughly," began being used of "to look forward to." Consequently, one's looking is not united with now; it is splintering off into an imagined future. This futuristic hope means unawareness, for one can only experience awareness in the present tense.

Expectation does not mean we cannot hold a hope in awareness now - so, it not being futuristic -, only that it too easily pulls us out of hope grounded in the present. Hope becomes ungrounded, for it cannot find grounding in a time that is not. We become homeless, we have left our home address.

Accordingly, mindfulness, with other spiritual practices, entails returning to the present. We find awakenings happen when they happen. We learn that to be present itself is to be awake. So, we live wakefully, and we have unforeseen moments of breakthrough we can call awakenings. We do not grasp for an opening to come. We relax, easing into the moment. We discover experiencing now is precious, for it is the experience of life.

It takes time to habituate to this supreme preciousness. For many of us, there is little encouragement to live in this manner. Yet, to the extent we do not live in this moment, we do not live. Still, with aspiration, over time, we stay with the moment more. We come to live this moment as our spontaneous way of life.

Think of this - something so wonderful - life - that we must habituate ourselves to tolerate it. Then, we no longer try to live in the mode of anticipation but relax into the gloriousness and holiness of this moment, this place, this breath, and this person with us.

* * *

* Brian K. Wilcox, 2021

*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book consists of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.


Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Grounding in the Present

©Brian Wilcox 2021