Mary O’Malley – One of my teachers told a story of when he was first awakening, and he attended a Zen meditation retreat. The teacher stood in front of the group with a staff in his hands. After a pause, he struck the staff three times on the ground and said, “This Is It!” He then did it again. But at that time in his awakening this didn’t make sense to the student. “What does he mean when he says “This Is It!”
For most of us, this won’t initially make sense to us either, so I invite you for a moment or two to close your eyes. And when you open them, see this is your life! As intimately as possible, open yourself to this moment. Feel it, hear it and see that this moment is different than any other moment of your life. Now close your eyes again. And when you open them again, this moment is different from the last one and yet it still is your life.
And yet we are rarely here. Most people live in a mind that believes if they just get it all together then everything will finally be okay. But underneath everything they long for, whether it’s enlightenment, or better health, or an easier relationship, or a different size body, or more exciting experiences, resides the longing to know the truth that this is the only moment that matters in their whole life.
Close your eyes again. And then open them to a totally brand-new moment of your life.
More and more of us are beginning to get an inkling of what this means. It is about coming home to this moment, opening to the exquisite aliveness that is life. But life includes the easy and the difficult, the joyous and the sorrowful and we’re finally beginning to learn how to stay open when things are difficult. Your natural state is spaciousness. Who you really are doesn’t resist, struggle or even want things to be different than what they are. And it is in discovering how to stay open to it all that we discover who we truly are.
So, for just this moment, let go. Let the tightness in your body and the struggles in your mind relax and open to life for this moment is it! And if you watch carefully you may see little fizzes of joy begin to bubble up from deep inside for this is what you really long for – to fully and intimately experience life no matter what is appearing.
You probably won’t stay this open for very long because you, like all of us, have been trained to put a wall of thought between yourself and the living experience of your life. But be willing to cultivate what I call the pause that refreshes, where a number of times throughout the day, as you allow a long slow out breath, you close your eyes and then when you open them again, you recognize, this is your life.
It may sound like this invitation is not very powerful. But I assure you it is. Moments of opening into life accumulate and over time, it becomes easier and easier to reclaim the joy of being fully alive and present for all of it!
SF Source Mary O’Malley Jun 2019