InSpire - May/June 2016 | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - May/June 2016

For our yoga practice for the next 2 months, I would like to delve into present moment awareness. This is a topic that comes up frequently in the yoga and meditation community. Be in the moment! So, how can we actually do this? It is one thing to say it, and to know that it is definitely a good space to be in, but actually being here now is something else!
Why is it that we find it so hard to stay present? What distracts us? What is more important than the present moment that draws us away into the world of our thoughts, feelings and emotional lives?

I would like to invite us all to follow a path of openness and awareness, in the pursuit of truth. To cultivate openness and awareness we need to choose this deliberately, every moment again and again. We cultivate, through our yoga and meditation practice, this natural openness of heart and mind that enables us to look at life, things and people around us, in a fresh, unbiased way.

What tools do we have at our disposal?
Our yoga practice, which we can use to:
Be grounded through the physical body, experiencing ourselves in a direct way.
Be open and non-judgemental to our body as sensations arise.
Be aware of physical, mental, emotional and spacial reactions and/or interventions.
Use the breath as an anchor for reconnecting to the present moment.
Learn to soften to suffering, letting it ride the breath-waves.
Prepare for the sitting/meditative practice.

Our yin and meditation practice, where we can:
Learn to relate to the mind just as it is.
Learn to relate to the body just as it is.
Let go of ambition and ego.
Learn to see the significance of something as it arises in the practice, whatever it is.
Open toward our thoughts and feelings, until there is no separation between ourselves and our emotions, allowing compassion to arise.

“The truth we are seeking lies within ourselves already, waiting to be revealed. It is also to be found all around us. So in some sense the truth comes from without and within at the same time. The truth that seems to swoop down from outside is no different to the truth that wells up within us. They are fundamentally the same.” (Rigzin Shikpo)

As we make “progress” on our path, we also realise how attached we are to the notions of time and space - ego does not let go easily. Recommit, again and again and again.
This is where the yoga practice can help to bring you back to this present moment awareness when you find yourself drifting back to “old patterns” of thinking and behaviour.
Upon realising this more often (creating new neural pathways!), we awaken to the qualities of love, compassion, joy, and a balance of heart and mind needed to see and feel things properly - the awakened heart and mind. We gradually develop an inspiration to give up attachment to self-interest and ambition, and open ourselves to show genuine compassion and love for others, in a way which it arises spontaneously out of us.

“Because we only find genuine peace when we realise truth, the truth is peace.”
(Rigdzin Shikpo, Never turn Away)

Now for an extract from Rick Hanson’s marvellous book, Buddha’s Brain, where he reminds us that even though it is important to live in the present moment, it is equally important to “tend to the causes of a better future”…
“It’s a general moral principle that the more power you have over someone, the greater your duty is to use that power benevolently. Well, who is the one person in the world you have the greatest power over? It’s your future self. You hold that life in your hands, and what it will be depends on how you care for it.”

Plus: “It’s impossible to change the past or the present: you can only accept all that as it is. But you can tend to the causes of a better future. Most of the ways you’ll do this are small and humble... These little actions really add up over time. Everyday, ordinary activities—as well as any personal growth or spiritual practices—contain dozens of opportunities to change your brain from the inside out. You really do have that power, which is a wonderful thing in a world full of forces beyond your control. A single raindrop doesn’t have much effect, but if you have enough raindrops and enough time, you can carve a Grand Canyon.”
This does not mean we should collapse ourselves into obsessing about the future either.
The past is already over (and is only powerful because we feed into the memory of it), the future has not happened yet, so if there is no past or future, then there cannot be a present either? Just the present moment….and it is in this moment that we can be aware of our thoughts, beliefs, words, actions…”these little actions really add up over time”…


Image: Lesotho shepherds @ Sani Pass South Africa by Jürgen Weiland