From the BlogMeet Ron

MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANOA (right now, it’s like this)

 right now, it’s like this

Dear Friends,

I can’t take credit for this title. It’s a phrase the senior American monk in the Thai Forest tradition, Ajahn Sumedho, often uses. It’s even found its way into the Against The Stream meditation community. 

The phrase invites us to explore what is present. It’s kind of a reality test in the moment, a checking-in with what’s truly happening. 

The phrase also has overtones that anything that’s happening, no matter what that is, in a way, radically OK. Nothing to get worked up over. Or to take personally. 

We can go easy on ourselves.

But it also hints at something deeper – that what is present doesn’t stay present for long. Right now it’s like this, but in a few moments it will be like this in another way.

We just gently turn to what is, in the moment.

Ajahn Sumedho likes to quote from the Pali texts, where the Buddha describes the goal of the spiritual path – Nibbana. 

“There is an island, an island which you cannot go beyond. It is a place of … non-possession and of non-attachment. It is the total end of suffering and distress. There are people who, in mindfulness, have realized this and are completely cooled here and now.
~ SN 1092–5 (translated by Ven. Saddhatissa)

Mindfulness recognizes the way things are in the moment, without judging, grasping or becoming elated or dejected. As we learn to trust in this way, we catch glimpses of this “island you cannot go beyond.” 

As Ajahn Sumedho’s teacher, Ajahn Chah put it: “It’s where you experience the reality of non-grasping.”

Pema Chodron explains it this way:

“The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. The way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include ll that arises without feeling threatened.”

It’s very simple, and direct. It can’t be manufactured or intellectualized. You have to trust you have the capacity to be fully here and now, without grasping, as things arise and pass away. 

It’s saying yes to the present moment, whatever that is. You give up rejecting and armoring the heart. It’s not saying we agree with the moment, we don’t agree with sexual assault or racial discrimination, but you say yes because whatever is happening is just life as it is.

And it’s the beginning of letting go of resentment, guilt, anger, of the whole nine yards.

It’s where we experience the “reality of non-grasping”, as Ajahn Chah says.

I will let Ajahn Sumedho have the last word:

If we look at it in this way, Nibbana is here and now. It’s not an attainment in the future. The reality is here and now. It is so very simple, but beyond description. It can’t be bestowed or even conveyed, it can only be known by each person for themselves.

May you discover the freedom, the coolness and the joy – the island of peace which you cannot go beyond.
Aloha,Tom, Katina, and the kids

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