There I was this morning, in the middle of a downward dog at yoga, and all I could think about was getting to the bank. What was the password to my ATM card? Was it 1234? Or 4321? Or 3241? Did I even have time to go to the bank this morning? Or should I wait until later?
If you’re like me, you often live inside your head. Whether you’re folding laundry, doing the dishes, or walking the dog, there’s a good chance your thoughts are elsewhere, not on the textures and smells of freshly washed clothes, the bubbles in the sink or the steady patter of your dog’s feet. Perhaps you’re thinking about something that happened in the past like, “Why was my boss such a jerk yesterday?” Or maybe your thoughts travel to the future, as in “I need to pick up lettuce at the store today.”
That’s why I’m so grateful to my dear friend Cheryl who recently introduced me to a book called “You are Here.” It’s written by the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, whose works should be required reading. The phrase reminds me of the maps we see in large shopping malls, where a large red dot tells us exactly where we are, right here, right now.
The book is all about life in the moment, being here and fully alive in the present. It sounds so simple and is yet, so hard because let’s face it, we humans have so much to ponder all the time. We worry about our loved ones, our health, our jobs. We fret about our finances. We mull over problems. We plan big events. We constantly revisit our schedules and giant to-do lists.
So here’s the challenge: Close your eyes, take a breath in and exhale. Silence the inner chatter. Don’t think about anything else. Try that for just a minute. Then come back to this blog.
It wasn’t easy, was it? It’s called meditation, and it’s probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do. I’ve been trying to meditate for years and have yet to master it. But that’s okay.
The key is to do it every day, if only for a few minutes. Regular practice has helped me realize that a lot of my angst rests in events from my past and worries about the future. It has nothing to do with what’s happening to me right here, right now, in this moment.
When I finally let go of the worries about my password this morning, I was able to soak up the yoga stretches and enjoy what I was doing at each moment, in each pose.
In other words, I found my big red dot. I hope you can do the same.