Don't let a mad world tell you that success is anything
other than a successful present moment.
- Eckhart Tolle
When I watch my children, I am struck by one thing always: they still know how to be present. Even when they are bored, fidgety and wishing things were going faster or slower, they are still fully present to their experience.
I, on the other hand, have to make a very conscious effort to be fully present rather than listening to my thoughts, projecting into the future, imagining scenarios, planning... I think we all do.
This is why I love the question: 'Where are you?'
It first took on real meaning for me a few years ago as I sat on a sofa in Seattle.
I was staying with our dear friends, Tom and Linda Carpenter, in their home. Robert had told me so much about them and this was our first meeting. I knew they were incredible teachers of A Course in Miracles and I felt I had just enough of a handle on the Course to stay in the conversations and learn new things.
I was a bit nervous as we sat down one morning to read the Course together. We were all reading a specific passage and Tom was sharing his insights with us. I remember being very interested in what he was saying.
And then he stopped. And looked at me. And he asked me the simplest of questions: 'Where are you, honey?'
I literally could not think. I didn't know what he was asking me and I certainly didn't know what he meant. So, guess what I said... (makes more sense that I responded this way now that I know about pregnancy brain, but still.)
I said: 'Page 143'
Tom smiled kindly and repeated his question. 'No, honey, I mean, where are you?'
And I got it. And, obviously, I had to laugh at myself for having said Page 143. (And I am still kind of can't-help-it cringing about it even today !!)
And I've been asking myself the same question ever since. Because it is a completely brilliant question.
And what I realised this evening is that we bring so little of ourselves to each moment, however hard we try, however present we try to be. It is just difficult.
But asking the question 'Where am I?' is so powerful.
Where am I right now? Can I feel my fingers? What are my feet doing? Are my shoulders tense? What is my facial expression? Am I really here, in this moment, right now?
This is my simple, difficult, ongoing practice.