Saturday, June 14, 2014

You can't step in the same stream twice…

From Claire and Dave's Round the World Adventure
Or so says an old Zen proverb. The water, representing time and life, flows on. And your own body is in a constant cosmic dance of atomic change, the exchange of mass into energy, of the chemistry into electricity into thoughts that jangle along from neuron to neuron in your brain, sparkling in and out of existence. No, you are not the same "one" moment to moment. A single thought can change your entire perspective on life.

It's something we talk about a lot, how do we stay here, in this moment, not resisting the lives we have, which many would see as restricted but which we enjoy.

Tony said this morning after we'd finished our coffee, "I'm trying to think of myself as a twig floating on a stream. Some days I move right along with the flow, some days I'm caught in an eddy and all I can do is circle round and round. No energy to escape it, no use fighting." And he headed off for a rest, after having been up for about 45 minutes.

The slipstream we call "life" moves, and we can never step in the same spot twice. If I scoop it up in my hands it spills through my fingers. I have in the past resisted and found myself circling in eddies of frustration and anger, sliding over precipices of fear and guilt and dashed on the rocks of hostility and remorse. Now I'm working on refusing to attach drama to the trivial events of the day, checking my impatience, training myself to bear ordinary discomforts and live in serenity.

No matter the circumstances life is best lived in the moment. I can't see what I'm rushing toward. The past is gone and cannot be changed. Feeling anger at how I was treated decades ago (or yesterday) just makes me unhappy. Letting go of those feelings, they are free to flow away. Holding on to grudges from the past is like throwing a dam across life's stream and then fighting to keep my head above ever-deepening water. It burns up enormous stores of energy. 

The buoyancy I need to stay afloat is only present in the moment, as my ever-changing self steps in the ever-changing stream of life.

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