To me, “this” refers to the present moment, as opposed to “that”. It might be joyous or sad, inspiring or frustrating, or everything in between. It has adventures and it has movement from one thing to the next.
A couple of days ago, I experienced stillness, no movement, just being here now. It was so sweet, and then it faded. I figured it was by grace that such sufficiency showed up and I vowed to simply wait until this light shone on me again. Trying to make it happen, such as by feeling into the current event and trying to make it stop, was a useless endeavour. Effort doesn’t lead to the timeless.
Then there was this morning. What if I found a mantra and simply repeated it throughout the day, hoping that it would trigger the downward flow of energy that I was experiencing recently? Sounds like a strategy but not really effort. That might work. But having things “work” seems contrary to the letting go that came upon me before. Still, I decided to do it.
How about “Not this”? I tried that for awhile but no sweetness came my way. Then I realized that negating the present moment wasn’t it. I needed to honour present happenings while opening to something beyond them. Maybe “Bigger than this”. Worth a shot.
I was driving into London, going with the flow of the traffic, when I let “Bigger than this” seep into me. Immediately the quiet flow of energy fell softly from my throat to my stomach. And I was there, fully aware of the cars, but absolutely quiet inside. I started congratulating myself and right away lost the immense space. “Just watch the fullness (or emptiness), Bruce. No analysis or conclusions.”
I got to my bike shop, to pick up ta-pocketa. Unmindfully, I had broken my pedal last week. “Come in. We’re open” said the sign. A smaller, handwritten one said they had to close unexpectedly for a few hours. After a minute of grousing, I remembered my mantra … and the world opened once more. The frustration of driving to Lambeth but not getting to take my bike home was still there but it was … small. I smiled.
My afternoon was at South Dorchester School, volunteering with wonderful Grade 6 kids. Right away, I had a conversation with two girls about drawing, and my mantra disappeared. It stayed disappeared until I remembered it while talking to two women at the end of the day. In between, I had many glorious moments, such as staring at a computer screen, surrounded by 12-year-olds, trying to guess who’s who from 27 baby pictures. I got one right!
You could say that I was present for all these interactions with the kids, and I was, but how deeper could the moments have been if “Bigger than this” had augmented the already beautiful? I don’t know, but I’m thrilled with the possibility that I can access the infinite often within daily life.
Tomorrow there’s more daily life on the schedule. The Grade 6’s have a class trip to Western University in London. We’ll be playing 4 or 5 different sports and “new” games. And I have a challenge:
Stay fully alive
I can do this