Over time, I stopped measuring my days by degree of productivity and started experiencing them by the degree of presence. The joy of being in the moment. Experiencing life fully and completely. As it happens in almost anything that one does with complete focus. Be it a sport, music or even work. When one loses track of time and consciousness and becomes one with the experience. The “primary consciousness,” is the basic mind which knows reality. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment.
To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening. We need to “lose” ourselves in the music.
To be able to hold that Yoga pose, you need to focus on your breathing.
To be able to play that song well, I need to play it intuitively, by feeling it.
Like when I do a speed workout, there is intense focus on maintaining the pace and regulating my breathing, so there is no room for any other thoughts, as versus an easy run where the mind is free to wander, as there is no specific goal. That is why I feel most free and liberated after speed work, as I have experienced pure emotion, be it joy or even despair.
What happens in a longer run, if all goes well, is that the rhythm becomes easy and the running becomes subconscious. In this case, the mind goes blank and it becomes one with you. This is when running is easy, and there is no real thought about the distance, the weather and most importantly the next race. That is when we run for the joy of running. For the empty space. And running becomes meditative.
Each morning, we wake up and experience a rich explosion of consciousness — the soft light of dawn, the calm of a rested body, maybe the smell of coffee. For the briefest of moments we are not sure who we are and then suddenly ‘I,’ the one that is awake, awakens. We gather our thoughts so that the ‘I’ who is conscious becomes the ‘me’ — the person with a past. The memories of the previous day return. The plans for the immediate future reformulate. The realization that we have things to get on with remind us that it is a workday. We become a person whom we recognize, spend our days in activities which largely boil down to counting and measuring,
Happiness is remaining in the present in the fullest possible sense. In each present moment we are only aware of that experience. You are never aware of being aware. You are never able to separate the thinker from the thought, the knower from the known. All you ever found was a new thought, a new experience. What makes us unable to live with pure awareness is our memory and our warped relationship with time. As a matter of fact, you cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is a part of the present experience.
In the Now, there is no past and certainly no future. What makes the moment disappear is the shift of consciousness from the now into the future. But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. To pursue it, is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead.
Living in the Now, we live with acceptance. We let go of expectation and hence disappointment and frustration. There is no assured future, the realisation of which, can create unhappiness. We need to adapt to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen And the sooner we acknowledge that we cannot control future events, the mind accepts the fluid nature of reality. We need to practice living free in the moments we can, until life becomes a collection of moments.
‘Forever is composed of nows.’ -Emily Dickinson