Be here now. Be somewhere else later. Is that so complicated?

Be here now. Be somewhere else later. Is that so complicated?David Bader

present

Is he present, or is he somewhere else? Somewhere far, far away… What is he missing while his mind and his focus is elsewhere?

What does that mean?
This quote is about the fundamentals of Zen, at least as I understand it. Being present. Where are you and where is your mind, your focus and your energy?

This quote reminds us to be here in our mind, our focus and our energy. Where ever “here” might be. Right now, be united in all our aspects, not scattered.

Later, when we are elsewhere, that is where our mind, our focus and our energy should be. But not until we get there. It really isn’t complicated to explain.

However, for me, it is quite hard. I’m used to multitasking and being everywhere else but here, when I am here. So easy to say, so easy to understand, yet (for me at least) so hard to do.

Why is being present important?
This is the story of my life. Being elsewhere when I should be here. All the things I didn’t notice because I wasn’t focused or paying attention to what was right in front of me. A character flaw, I admit, but one which has cost me the opportunity to say goodbye, to say hello, to say I love you, or even to see a pretty sunset.

I was the opposite of this quote. I was the opposite of present. I was always elsewhere. Daydreaming, thinking, planning, being somewhere else. But so rarely was I present, in the moment, where I physically was. As mentioned before, many opportunities were lost because I wasn’t there to notice them.

But if one is present and has their mind, their focus and their energy present with their body in the place where they are, wonderful things can happen. You smell the roses. You see shapes in the clouds. You notice sunsets, sunrises, rain in the distance or up close, you see the people around you, and might even interact with one or two of them.

Life is what you miss when you are not here right now. Life passes you by while your mind, your focus and/or your energy are elsewhere. That is a terrible thing to lose access to, isn’t it? But we are creatures of habit, and we might have to change our habits to be more present in our own lives.

Where can I apply this in my life?
As I mentioned before, I’m often not home. Well, I’m out of the house a lot as well, but I am often not here, even when I am. I’m thinking about other things, focusing on other things, devoting my energy to things which might or might not happen. I am daydreaming, plotting, analyzing, considering and wasting time.

Some of you may already have this down. For a few of you, it might even be so obvious as to not require any thought or discussion. You just do it, because that is your habit. If so, please feel free to leave any thoughts you have in the comment section below. We appreciate anything you can share with us.

The way I am learning to be present is to try to quiet my mind. Not by chasing the thoughts out with a stick while yelling at them. Never did get that to work. And yes, I thought that’s how meditation worked. But I’m improving. I am also trying to notice when I am not paying attention, and gently remind myself to get back to that later, and focus on being present for the moment.

It is working, but for me, it is working slowly. I’m told many others get the hang of it very quickly, but everyone is different. With any luck, you will do much better than I, and in less time. Sometimes the worst student is one who thinks they know what they’re doing. We have lots of bad habits to unlearn first.

If you feel you aren’t present as often as you would like, you might want to start by considering when you actually are present. What is different in that situation than in others when you find yourself absent instead of present? Is there something about your level interest, your state of mind, your focus, or your level of energy?

If you can figure out some of the differences between them, you can then start to figure out what you can do to replicate some of the feelings or actions which were part of what you did when you were present in your life. Just understand that it may take some time to determine what the proper combination is that you are trying to replicate.

In the end, it’s up to you to determine how much of your life you wish to be present for. How many sunsets or sunrises you’re willing to miss because you are elsewhere? How many magic moments are you willing to let slip by? How many flowers will remain un-smelled because you just walked by, unmindful?

Your life, your choice.

From: Twitter, @ZenProverbs
confirmed at : quoted in another book, link should highlight it for you (pg 201)
photo by Steven Zwerink

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