In the summer I cultivate a habit of walking down to the marsh with its wide-open view. From the marsh one can see, along with assorted flying wildlife at the marsh at sundown–Swift’s or dragonflies depending upon a time of year, an expansive view of the sky, the clouds, and most of all, the sunlight hitting the clouds as the rays stream through the darkening sky, reflect off of the drifting clouds, shift, intensify and diminish into creamsycle colors, and then scarlet, blues and purples.
Fritz Perls of Gestalt Therapy fame, used to say, “Lose your mind and come to your senses.” It is one of my favorite sayings. Coming to our senses is a natural meditation. I used to spend a lot of time sitting on a cushion trying to “practice” being “present,” in the moment. While one can practice being present in special places at special times, the simplest practice is to pay attention moment to moment to one’s daily life. The Zen Master Bankei, for example says, “ When you are walking along naturally, you’re walking in the harmony of the Unborn.” The awake mind is present whether we’re aware of it or not. Or in the words of Zen Master George Bowman “Life is a celebration, but we are usually missing it.”
Opportunities to be present in the moment are all around. Lose your mind and come to your senses. Just to be present with ourselves when we are drinking a cup of tea or coffee in the morning instead of rushing through it to get to work or to do the next thing we are doing. Taking that moment, that sip. Can we take a moment to sit and really taste the tea, the coffee: the slightly floral bittersweet taste of darjeeling, bitter aroma of a cup of French roast. Or cutting vegetables—an especially important time to be mindful. Feeling the movement of hand with the knife with each slice. Not losing a finger.
And then you come to the end of writing something like this and you realize the talking the writing the reading all take you further from the truth.
Lose your mind and come to your senses.