On being fully in the moment

File:Midsummer bonfire closeup.jpg

A thought prompted by the traditional fires lit on this important Celtic feast day of Samhain which marks the start of winter or the “darker half” of the year and which have transferred over into the celebration of Halloween.

When you do something,

you should burn yourself completely,

like a good bonfire,

leaving no trace of yourself.

Shunryu Suzuki

photo janne karaste

When we get caught up in the drama

File:Arabian Nights Dinner Show.jpg

Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.

Sharon Salzberg

photo experience kissimmee

A concrete instruction

File:Singapura cat looking around.jpg

Not always easy to do when a piece of work or a meeting does not go to plan, but since we often cannot really evaluate something until much later,  it is best to rest in the present, and not in a story about what it means,  or with the passing mood which it provokes.

For us, as people wanting to live a full, unrestricted, adventurous, real kind of life, there is a concrete instruction we can follow: see what is. Acknowledge it without judging it as right or wrong. Let it go and come back to the present moment. Whatever comes up, see what it is without calling it right or wrong. Acknowledge it. See it clearly without judgment and let it go. Come back to the present moment.

Pema Chodron, The wisdom of No Escape

photo takahashi hososhima

Where to look


A similar thought to that seen in the last two posts, but this time from the Western tradition, showing a corresponding understanding of the need to stay in the present moment and not in some thought about how an ideal life or an ideal day should be.

You seek perfection, but it lies in everything that happens to you.

Setbacks, actions and impulses  are the mysteries under which God reveals himself to you.

He will never show himself in the shape of that exalted image to which you are attracted to.

Jean Pierre de Caussade, 1675 – 1751, a French jesuit,  whose ideas Alan Watts compared to ones found in Zen Buddhism.



A long weekend here in Ireland,  so a chance to refresh and nourish ourselves, taking a step back to notice compulsive running, outside and inside our minds.  Meditation practice is more about settling back into something that is already present,  rather than a need to “achieve” a goal, even a “good” or “calm” goal. Often this desire to achieve is based on a perfect image of ourselves and just fuels an underlying feeling that we are lacking in a fundamental way, needing to be supported and held up.

Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,  but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

Lao Tzu

with thanks to dear friend Patrick for the picture from his mountain walks in France