just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Vitality and the Present Moment

Published on 11/10/16
by randy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI once heard someone define vitality as fully meeting the present moment. I’ve also heard some psychologists define depression as a lack of vitality. When we’re fully engaged in the present moment, whole-heartedly giving all we have to this moment, we’re at our best. There’s an alignment with the inner and the outer, a place that’s a portal to something deeper than sense perception and our projection of personal self. We can step out of our story to be with the simplicity of the moment. There’s an aliveness and beauty to it where we can experience directly without needing the thought process to convince us. This alertness reveals itself as something very deep and it takes you from the story that has a heavy past or future. This place of full vitality is a discovery of the beauty of living, if you only live a little free from the story.

So leaving thought in wholehearted action is a stepping out of the story to ‘just be’ with the moment…to discover the aliveness of the moment. You see directly when you don’t bring in mental labels (language). Without the personal relationship, in that alertness, there is also a stillness. It frees you from you as the story based centered self. This moving from ‘thinking’ you’re somebody to experiencing fully the nonverbal takes you to the discovery of your ‘somebody else’. When you choose to be present without the interference of thought you have one foot in the un-manifest and this influences what does manifest. The way you experience the outer world is heavily influenced by the fact you’re rooted in the depths of your being…in the spaciousness and stillness of the present. At this moment love flows from the un-manifest into the world of form.

I recently watched the second presidential debate between Clinton and Trump. It was a mean, confrontational event that many have described as a low point for our nation. And then, at the end a gentlemen asked from his heart if either candidate could say anything good about their perceived enemy. It was a moment, very brief, where we found hope. Our addiction to negative emotions and judgment was buried for an instant as they broke the barrier, built a small bridge, and eventually shook hands.

I was taken by another politician interviewed on CBS’s “60 Minutes” this summer. The president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri made the following observation and comment:

“I think human history, for the most part, has been a cycle of hatred and revenge and indifference and callousness to the weak and vulnerable. But we’re experiencing an awakening. That’s what happens in America. Right when America is about to go under we get spiritual and moral awakening. I believe that in the 21st century we have to be open and must not put anymore ideological differences in front of the best solutions.
Do you agree that we have to work to reduce poverty, we have to defeat drug trafficking, that we have to improve the quality of our democracy? Yes? Well then let’s find which particular projects we can do? And let’s find ways to cooperate. The challenge will always be, ‘Will their rage be channeled through hatred and revenge or will it be channeled through love and justice?’

No doubt, our world is changing faster than at any other time in history. Population growth strains our resources. Climate change has resulted in a refugee crisis straining national boarders around the world. Advances in transportation and technology have resulted in a global economy and society that demands mutual respect for one another lest we destroy this beautiful gift of life. Our balanced response, moment by moment, is best served by whole hearted attention to that which is best for all with harm to none. A reliance on that which is bigger than what we ‘think’ we are is our first step to vitality, healing and ultimately, to love.

I’ve heard ‘stress’ defined as the distance or gap from where you are to where you want to be. We’re stressed to the extent we attach to wanting things as they were, or we push with anger and fear to what we want them to be. Our best solutions will come when we can simply sit together, when we can touch our shared humanity and apply the universal spiritual principles every major religion has been based upon:
Aim to cause no harm. To love one another as ourselves, even our perceived enemies.
To not take what has not been offered.
To respect one another, especially our elders who’ve traveled so far and have hopefully learned so much. Especially our children and their children who have so far to go. To respect means to listen, surrendering notions of being right.
To engage in non hurtful sexual conduct that comes from kindness to one another.
To use words that aim to heal rather than harm, to plant and water seeds of positive emotion and to refrain from watering seeds that grow the negative (fear, greed, ignorance).
To be aware of how our consumption practices influence us, others and the planet. To practice a life of awareness and moderation aimed to heal rather than deepen the wound.

These are intentions I grew up with as a Lutheran. They are practices and intentions world spiritual leaders promote through every religion. The mind is a restless thing. We’re by human nature forever drawn to our dissatisfaction. We can protest vote from anger, abstain from voting from our indifference and cynicism, or meet the moment in full awareness, stillness and faith, taking an action from the heart filled with a bigger hope and faith.

No matter what our circumstance, can we make space to find freedom in the moment, to touch stillness before thought, opinion, and fixed notions of right vs. wrong. Our forefathers called this respect and awe for that which is bigger than us ‘Divine Providence’. It feeds our sense of wonder, humbles us to the mystery of life, and fills us with the energy to meet each other from a sense of connection and dependence rather than us vs. them. To meet in the moment, full of vitality and a sense of well-being, curious to see what bubbles up as a better solution. Again, will we channel our current rage through hatred and revenge or will it be channeled through love and justice and the ultimate realization that we are not separate. We belong to each other and our kindness will determine our very survival and security.

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