The majority of my time is spent thinking, worrying about, planning for the future. Another big chunk goes to thoughts about the past, usually regretting, remembering, rehashing, lots of re-(s) . . . Rarely, am I being here, in this moment, open to the whole experience of smell, sight, touch, hearing, tasting, and yes, thinking also.
Ayya Khema says, "We have to learn to actually experience living in the present".
Deafening sound of cars roaring on El Camino freeway, nauseating perfume of woman standing next to me, impatience of waiting for the AT&T store to open so I can get my iPhone fixed, a slight pinch in the lower back, contraction in fingers holding pen, some excitement about writing this post, a mixture of pleasantness and unpleasantness. Being in this present moment.
How do I (we) learn?
Through sustained attention, noticing again and again the mind's tendency to escape into thoughts. And through wise investigation of the suffering that comes attached. Sadness of moments not fully lived, this precious life wasted away, bit by bit. Superfluous, self-created anxiety about imaginary future. Craving for a different experience other than current one, and buried in it the seed of guaranteed unhappiness.
Another moment. This time, noticing knots in stomach, bitterness in the mouth, street noise still, lots of it. Annoyance at the woman with the stinky perfume. "When are they going to open? Is it time yet?". Unpleasantness. Being in that present moment.
How about you? Where do you dwell most? In the present? Or do you get lost in thoughts? Do you favor the past, or the future?