Coming back to your senses
A Zen Master was asked, ”What is the difference between you and other people?” He answered, “When I eat I eat, when I sleep I sleep, when I walk I walk” What is the Master talking about? He is emphasizing being present with what we are doing!
How often do we really stay present with what we are doing? To really enjoy the sensation on our taste buds while eating a fruit, really savouring all the flavours in it, the delicate fragrances, nuances in colour of flowers when walking in a garden and allowing the experience to become our whole world.
Even when we walk in the nature are we really present with our experiences? Very often, the mind is constantly busy labeling and judging the experiences that we end up missing the present moment. ‘Ah this scenery reminds me of my childhood experience when I was walking my parents and…then they started quarelling…’and all the misery within associated with a memory, with the past, becomes the current experience as we get lost in thoughts.
How would it be instead to see things for what they are in the present moment, to be present in our senses, to be so total in our senses that all sense of ‘I’ disappear, to merge in the moment and experience oneness with it.
Walking in a forest with presence, you might be surprised about the clarity with which you experience the trees and the whole forest. The senses get sharper and clearer.
This is because your consciousness is not divided between your actual experience and your thinking- you are not distracted! No, your consciousness can embrace the experience totally and it feels like seeing with different, newborn eyes.
Suddenly the forest appears amazing colorful, you notice so many exciting details you never saw before. You become like a small child-a small child is still able to experience the world directly-he does not have so many words yet, so life is always new and exciting. He has not yet learnt to look at the world with the glasses of the mind, has not learnt yet to experience the world with words and concepts.
“To know my Kingdom of God you must be like small children again”.
Says Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas, “To know my Kingdom of God you must be like small children again”. And more than that, when you meet your experiences without the mind’s disturbance you may suddenly feel the whole forest to be as holy as a temple.
You may have moments of one-ness with all you see whereby the boundary between your being and the experiences you perceive melt away and you cannot really distinguish between ‘You’ and ‘what you perceive’. It can be felt as if the experience of the forest opens up and becomes transparent and you fall into blissfulness. We call it moment of clarity when that happens.
Being totally present in what you are doing not only opens up all your five senses but it also fills you with blissfulness because you come in touch with who you really are.