Week One - - - Day Two
Wake up to Now
It’s your life.
Right now: what do you see?
Who is seeing that?
This is a trick question.
Because being aware in the moment is perhaps the most important choice a person can make about their life.
BEING AWARE IN THE MOMENT IS PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE A PERSON CAN MAKE.
And guess what?
NO WAITING! NO LINES! NO REQUIREMENTS! NO UNIFORM!
YOU CAN ONLY COME TO THE NOW, IN THIS NOW.
AND THIS NOW . . . HOLY DAMN . . . IT’S ALWAYS HERE.
Back to looking : better out a window.
And come back into the joy of seeing something now.
Now, think about what you are seeing: what is its name, what does it remind you of, should it be better or different, should you be better or different at you look at this.
And: drop that.
Let it go, as they say.
Just see, SEE what you are seeing.
No name. No commentary. No associations. No mental jabber.
Just see the thing you are seeing.
(Smiling and breathing more deeply while doing this is encouraged.)
Who is doing that?
What is doing that?
Don’t even have a name for an answer, except maybe something simple, like “I am,” or “me.”
Anyway: we see.
In the moment.
Even if it’s just (“just”) the words in this book: notice that you are seeing them now, these little shapes with white all around them.
Then bounce out and SEE something in the room, or in the yard, or in the park, or outside the window.
Now add on hearing. What can you hear, right now?
Sounds come in your ears.
Sometimes we notice real time sounds. Often we have a batch of auditory hallucinations in our mind, called “thinking,” aka “words in our head,” and they crowd our listening.
That’s the human mess.
We have real brains that can do real thinking (which will come in very handy later to do what thinking does best: notice differences) and we waste them on inner chatter.
So what? That’s the trap we all fall into and the cause of most human suffering in the first world.
It’s only when we get free of our words in our head, which doesn’t mean stopping thinking (hard), but not believing them, which is work, hard work, and super well worth it.
Back to the now.
And right now, you can see what you are seeing right now and add on hearing what you are hearing now.
Does that have a bit of a delight to it.
Does that world seem brighter and more real?
The middle layer of our body/ mind.
Air and lungs and ribs and chest and BREATHING.
And that’s just the top layer, the head thing above the neck.
Let’s descend to the torso area.
What’s going on there?
Breathing air in and breathing air out.
Whether we know it or not, whatever the weather, whether we even want to or not, if we are not dead . . . we are breathing.
How about turning the attention / awareness towards that?
Can you delight in noticing right now that you are breathing?
Not just notice, but delight in knowing, feeling, sensing in real time, noticing in real time the old fashioned core of life:
You are always doing it.
Noticing it provides a sort of jolt to our awareness of one of life’s central truths, we are alive.
And so enjoy delighting in and noticing and deepening and softening your breathing.
And do let it relax and come a little deeper into your belly.
Now you are alive.
You are seeing. And noticing you are seeing.
You are hearing/ listening. And noticing you are listening.
It’s a good life.
And . . .
You are breathing. And noticing you are breathing.
Bottom/ skeleton/ movement body awareness:
Arms and legs and spine
And what else is always true about life on earth?
It’s down there.
Feel your bottom/ pelvis on the chair, if you are sitting.
Feel your feet on the floor.
If your legs are crossed plop the other foot down to the floor and let the bottom of both of your soles communicate with the soul of the Earth.
GARVITY IS A BIG DEAL. IT’S THE THING WE HAVE TO ORGANIZE AROUND FOR ALL MOVEMENT ON THIS PLANET.
ASK A BABY WHO CAN’T CRAWL YET WHAT HER/ HIS BIGGEST WORK IS.
GRAVITY . . .
It pulls us down, keeps us from floating away. Is crucial in what it means to be a human.
Feel your spine holding up your head.
Arms, floating off shoulder blades, hanging on ribs, hanging on the spine, held up by your pelvis.
Notice your pelvis and the chair and your two legs coming from the pelvis to the Earth.
Always legs, unless we have had a tragedy.
The legs to walk us around and stand us up.
And dance, run, skip, swim, ski, golf walk walk the beautiful walks in nature.
Sense into the five lines of being a human being
One pelvis/spine/ head.
Think of a child’s picture of a human: a lollipop with two ams and two legs.
Often some fingers sticking out.
The hands are super important. To hold the pencil that draws the human, to hold the spoon that feeds the human, to throw the ball that lets us humans have fun.
To catch the ball.
To caress a lover.
The hold this book, or turn the pages on this book, to dress yourself, or undress yourself or your lover.
To swim, to golf, to play tennis, to ski, to walk, to skip, to hop, to run.
Arms and legs and spine are pretty grand.
Sense them, sense them out to the fingertips and the toe tips.
Sense the spine in the middle and the pelvis holding up the spine and the head at the top, and the eyes and ears in the head.
And the breathing, breathing in and breathing out in the middle air.
And how about a smile and sensing our hearts?
Now we are alive and ready to go:
Two legs and ten toes at the bottom.
Pelvis/ spine/ ribs/ breathing in the middle.
Arms and fingers to move in the world and hold hands with our friends.
Eyes and ears in the head thing at the top.
And where is awareness?
Maybe you ARE awareness rather than having awareness.
Keep open to discovering more and more the delight of life in the now.
And you, sweet reader, what ’s your assignment for today?
One I learned in 1966, junior in college.
One I learned in 1976 just as my second child, my son Brendan was about to be born.
They both are crucial to my life long love affair with the now.
Anyway: today is the day to jump into the now.
Awareness Game #1:
Start sentences with “Now I am aware . . . “ and complete them for three, four or five minutes.
Include what you see. What you hear. Physical sensations in your body.
Do not include thoughts, feelings, comments about what you see, hear or feel.
Just the facts of life in the now.
And don’t overthink this: just one awareness after another.
Begin to delight in the wonder of life as one awareness after another.
Occasionally in the background, consider/ inquire who or what is this awareness?
(After the first three days, when you are more or less set for a new life, I’ll wander into the past a little to share where these jewels came from, but for now, be now: what do you see? What do you hear? What does your right leg feel? What is the sensation in the moment in your right arm? Left arm? Spine? Pelvis?
What is the delight and sensation of your breathing, right now?
What is the feel of gravity?
Enjoy, enjoy enjoy.)
And the second assignment is a more systematic version, that more or less comes from the “Gurdjieff” work.
Waking up assignment #2:
The Gurdjieff meditation.
Move a bit in the bed with awareness.
Sit at the edge.
One: your right leg, from toe tips to hip bone.
Two: your right arm, from finger tips to shoulder
Enjoy those two as a team for a bit.
your left arm, shoulder blade down to finger tips.
Four: Left leg, hip joint to the toe tips.
Sense both arms and both legs for awhile.
Get into being into the now of having these wonderful parts.
Five: Sense your spine.
And two arms and two legs.
Add on listening, with your eyes closed.
Feel listening plus sensing.
It’s a lot.
It’s you alive.
Add on opening your eyes and noticing reflected light coming in your eyes.
Combine it all.
You are now a real animal alive on this planet.
Get up and live your day,
continuing to sense
Arms and legs
Fingers and toes
It’s a lot.
Enjoy the miracle.
Do this as you walk, eat, talk, drive, do anything.
Is this hard?
Is this impossible?
Is this waking up?
Especially if you are just now, and don’t have any commentary about how you are doing.
Smile and come back.
You aren’t meant to be perfect.
You are meant to wake up to the glory of being alive.
Enjoy your day.