Thursday, March 6, 2008

Living Now by Katie Davis, Author, Awake Joy - Chicago Satsang and Chicago Satsang Intensives


Hi! I really enjoyed your article, "Chocolate Cake" and"The Sky of Now" in the Monthly Aspectarian in Chicago. I will be at Chicago Satsang as well as the Chicago Satsang Intensive.

I have a couple questions. If you have a moment, I would love to hear what you have to say. You wrote about identifying your life with a story and how it is important to let go of the past, in order to live in the moment.

How do you then deal with the future? I mean, we all have to be somewhere at sometime or maybe there is an event coming up that we get excited about. How do you balance awarness of the future with living in the now? I realize that might be a big question, but if you have any thoughts I would love to hear them.

I've been practicing self-observation the last couple days and it is very challenging. I am becoming aware of how I am very caught up in what I have to do in order to be that person I think I have to be. I'm also a college student which I'm sure has something to do with that. Hope to hear from you.

Katie Davis:

Thank you for your question and I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the articles.

The mind-made self, the idea of “me,” is always time fixated. It is consistently trying to heal the past (worry, depression, guilt) or running to the future (stress and anxiety). It totally overlooks this moment, the only place where real life is happening. In the now, we amazingly find that nothing is broken and nothing needs to be fixed.

We can’t keep telling a past painful story and expect to get rid of the pain. The continuing pain is caused by our willingness to keep retelling the story to ourselves and others. Each repeat causes more pain.

We then take what we have learned psychologically from the past and project it into the future. The false sense of self believes that the future will be more of the same or hopes that it will be different which also causes pain, since we are actually expressing dissatisfaction about our life right now. We want it to be different.

However, when we are totally in the now and bring attention precisely right here, we find that our senses become so much more vibrantly alive, since we are not lost in our heads in mental activity. The result is joy in present living. Nothing can change the fact that a given situation occurred in the past. It is nothing more than a notch on a dateline, even in its original pain … it happened, but NOW, we are here. When refuse to be a storyteller, we are present for the joy that we are.

Especially as a student, you are challenged with future deadlines. The mind is a good tool for planning and organizing. We use this tool. Unfortunately, it often uses us. If you watch your thoughts while you are preparing for an exam, they are most likely focused at getting to the end in time. The thoughts are rushing you to the future in stress and anxiety. In this, we are not really present for learning at the level that we are capable to learn. Thought is pushing you out of the present moment.

This is really quite simple. In time, there is suffering and in the now, there is joy. Are you in the past right now? No, you are here. Are you in the future right now? No, you are always right here.

Be wherever the body is appearing and everything is alive.

Even if we find our present moment as problematic, such as a flat tire on a car, if you scrutinize your thoughts, you will find that the problem lies in your thoughts about the future … “I won’t get to class on time (future). Why does this always happen to me (based on the past). I will probably miss the exam (future) and then I will fail just like my mother told me that I might (past conditioning.)” Nothing can change the fact that you have a flat tire. We accept it and watch for an immediate solution that can arise in the present moment, if the ego is not telling stories and making it into a huge problem.

So we use the mind and refuse to allow it to use us. Whenever you feel some sort unease in the body, you can be sure that the mind-made self is up to bat to make you suffer.

Since the body is appearing in the present moment, we can use our senses to be more present. While you are walking to class, can you hear the birds, see something beautiful? When we are aware of our sensing, we are no longer lost in our heads. We feel alive and vibrant. Be aware of each action you take through sensing; your morning shower, eating breakfast and so on.

It might seem that nothing will ever get done, but actually the opposite is the truth. Since you are totally present, in the body, in this moment, we are so much more aware and happiness bubbles up from within. We also find that we are quite more efficient, since we are not hurrying to the future.

The ONLY time that is real is right NOW and the quality of your consciousness right now takes care of the next moment when it appears. When it appears, it is of course … now.

You do not need to become the person that your mind wants you to be. Who you are right now is perfection; without the striving to become something else. “If I did that, nothing would get done.” Is this really so? Try it and see. The mind is stuck between past fear and future desire and virtually squeezes the now into non-existence … the only place where true life appears to be happening.

Bring your attention into the body and its sensing and start accepting the present moment just as it is. I promise you, you will discover a depth within you that is the joy that you have been seeking in every so-called other. It is already here, right now.

And about that excitement? Being enthused is the ultimate gift! Sometimes, we have a future event that we anticipate is going to be wonderful. We practice in the mind and our future expectations about the event increase in our imagination. Nonetheless, it is not real yet. Sometimes, the expectations of the mind become so strong that when the event actually appears, we are let down since it doesn’t meet the mind’s expectation.

There is a difference between excitement and enthusiasm. When we are enthused about where we are right now and enthused with each moment that appears, we sense a calm, inner peace. Then we are present and see the inner truth of the event while it is actually happening. We rest in not knowing the next magnificent moment; not knowing and free of anticipation and expectation, we live life authentically right now. In this, we realize our total fulfillment here and now.

Katie Davis Website:

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