I am Here.
I am Here, Now.
And how profoundly grateful I am for this. Presence is a remarkable thing, and something that for many years I have been “trying” to “achieve.” It has been a place I have been “working” to get to. It has been a “destination” I have been trying to reach.
And then I stopped trying. And stopped doing. And stopped going. I just stopped. And took a deep breath. And a long, slow, exhale. And I listened to my breath. And I listened to the silence that lies, eternally, underneath all the noise that is cast forth into Existence. And I was here. And I was home.
For so long, I have been seeking and searching and grasping and looking for peace or spiritual enlightenment or something bigger. And I was looking everywhere around me. I have traveled to amazing places on this continent and others. I have studied Christianity and Hinduism and Taoism. I have read countless books and meditated and prayed. And all the while, I was searching. Doing. I was locked away, upstairs in my mind, talking to myself and trying to figure it all out.
But i couldn’t find it out there. And I couldn’t find it in my mind, closed off and tiled in.
I found it Here. In the breath that is and has been provided for me every moment of every day. In this body which serves as the vessel through which I get the opportunity to be a conscious part of Existence. In this time and place, where the Earth is under my feet and the she is gently holding me to her through the Force of gravity, and abundantly nourishing me with the Divine gifts of Water and Food. The amazing thing about coming back to this Present moment is seeing that despite all the cries and demands and worries that my mind is constantly chewing on, I am okay. I am fine. I’ve got all I need, otherwise I would be dead. Here and Now is enough. In fact, the Here and Now is so much bigger than we have been told, so it is far more than “enough,” but that is a good place to start. It’s enough. Whatever this moment is offering me, and whatever I have to offer this moment, is enough. It has to be, because it is all there is. It is all that is real.
It had truly been years since I have felt this deep sense of Presence. I had become an expert at “checking out” or “numbing out,” and had a bounty of anesthesias to choose from: television, internet, food, drugs, people, sex. Not that to the naked eye I was fiendishly running around like what we would call a “junkie,” but upon more examination, wasn’t I? I was walking through most of Life in varying levels of mindlessness. Watching television or youtube videos for hours upon hours, binging on sugary and/or artificial foods that provided no nourishment to my body, smoking pot every day, even multiple times a day… And yes, I engaged in community and made music and hugged people and laughed and cried through all that. This is not a demonization of Self, nor is it some confessional. It is a simple attempt at providing an example of the behaviors that have become commonplace in our culture and civilization, behaviors that I, as a member and product of this civilization, have exhibited and continue to confront within myself, as do many of you reading this. But what coming to Presence has revealed to me is that I do not NEED to do those things. What do I have to gird myself against? What do I need to numb? What do I need to hide from? What do I need to fear? What thing, either external or internal, is so horrific and painful that if I face it without being anesthesized, if I face it fully Present and alive and engaged, it will kill me?
And the answer is nothing. We are strong enough to bear the Here and Now.
I am strong enough.
Please make no mistake, this is also not a proclamation of having “figured it out” or “reached the destination.” Because Here is the only destination, and it is never going anywhere. It is beneath our feet and above us and all around us, always and forever. Our mind is a powerful organ, an efficient little computer, and can easily go into itself and close us off to the rest of reality. And each time we realize we have ceased to be Present in the Here, we have a simple map that will lead us right back. The map lies right Here in our chests.
Follow your breath, it will lead you home.
Open hands, open arms, open eyes, open ears, open heart, I am Here, with all of you, and we have Love.
Amen to that.