This Should Be Easy

wandering leunig
“I have lived with many zen masters, all of them cats.” — Eckhard Tolle                                                   (drawing by michael leunig)

  1. Pay attention to, and allow a relaxed, alert awareness of, sense perceptions of your surroundings right now, in this present moment; acknowledge what is.
  2. Appreciate what is being paid attention to; in the process, notice the lessening of the compulsive thinking and reactive feeling identified with life situation, personal history, and stories — these thoughts and feelings are usually insignificant, and often negative, full of dissatisfaction, anxiety, a sense of incompleteness or inadequacy, and they are not ‘you’.
  3. Turn awareness to the aliveness of the energy field of the inner body (practice: be aware of parts of the body, and postures, without looking at them).
  4. Become aware of the spaces opening when there are no thoughts or feelings.
  5. Inquire what enables awareness, now, of sense perceptions, the inner body, thoughts and feelings:
    ⁃ it is the light of true presence, the essence of you, now, the space between thoughts and feelings
    ⁃ it is emptiness, stillness, the one consciousness
    ⁃ it is free of the false sense of self, the illusory self, the habitual mind activity of compulsive thought patterns and reactive emotional patterns

For an hour, the person who purports to be ‘me’ sits, noticing the garden, the leaves, the stone and brick and wood, the trees and the sea behind. Listens to the birds, the creaks of wood expanding and contracting. Lets form dissolve into shade, colour, shadow, darkness and light. Feels the cells in my body, growing, flowing, doing what they must do to be part of the complicity. Imagines the molecules, the atoms, the stars and planets, and all that space, that light-ness that is almost all of them, almost everything. Watches a tiny spider, on the table less than a foot away, try to catch the air currents to weave a web from table to chair, from table to body, fail and slip and climb back up and try again, and again. Feels the warmth of the sun on the body, the coolness of wind and shade.

Kali is laughing at me.

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3 Responses to This Should Be Easy

  1. Carlo Moody says:

    New Occupy Movement: Occupy Life
    Keep $ in our pockets instead of buying things we don’t need;
    Buy second hand when you do need to buy;
    An older car is cheaper to operate than a new car;
    Take public transportation;
    There is no Santa Claus, only rich corporations getting richer, get artistic and make gifts, or better yet give time to family.

  2. John Graham says:

    “This Should Be Easy” can be heard at least three ways.

    One way, I react “whose standard are we judging ourselves against? how have we learned this yet-another-should about how practice *should* be?”

    Another way is the cynical – this should be easy, yeah right.

    Another way, is the should of the helpful guide, I don’t know if I can quite convey or grasp…

  3. Harry Osh says:

    We are trying to get the focus off ourselves – and what Dave is describing here is one such way. Meditation is another, helping another is a meditation.

    Why is that?

    The thing we have been missing all along was right under our nose. By getting the focus off ourselves, we turn off fear, anxiety and threat. The system that drives those negative feelings becomes engaged when we are self-centered. It makes perfect sense – the system that drives those negative emotions was supposed to protect the body that in our culture becomes “me”. Of course it is going to be engaged when we are focused on self.

    That is why we try to look outwards not inwards – that is why empathy works.

    The trick is to know when we are genuinely getting the focus off-self. It takes experience to be able to realize when we are actually not being self-centered. Focus on self is a very tricky and stealthy problem. We assimilate all we know into our self and then are unable to see outside the window to the other world because we believe that we are already doing that – when actually we are being fooled yet again by self-centered thought and the subsequent triggering of the fear-anxiety-threat subsystem in our nervous body. This is what they mean by the hall-of-mirrors problem.

    Don’t think I know what I am talking about. I am hurting, I feel lonely as well.

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