I wanted to share this little experience I had this morning, which though short, was a profound reminder of the power of shifting ones attention from the unreal to the real and present.
I was swimming along with a low level background emotional ache, a sort of discontentment, ‘everything is not perfect’ thoughts and the accompanying feelings. Still growling a bit about my noisy neighbour downstairs in my head too. That is the unreal. Fabricated story in my head and the cause of my ache emotionally.
An inner voice said to me ‘Ecstasy is available right now this very second, and every second if you really look’. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘where?’
And so I stopped my thinking, and looked at what was immediately in front of me and breathed in and felt into the scene I saw.
What I saw was exquisitely beautiful. The pool’s water was relatively still with only my gentle movements creating a mesmerising slow liquid dance of complex patterns of light and shade and every colour of blue.
I surrendered into it completely. I ‘became’ it, so present to it I was, that I felt no separation to this scene. This did evoke a feeling of ecstasy. Everything else in life disappeared except what was happening that second.
And I realised this could be the case all day long. If I allowed it. Can I let that level of joy into my life I wonder? I fear I would disintegrate in tears if I was in touch all the time with the utter utter delight of every detail of life. The shape of the tree out of the window, it could not be more beautiful or perfect. The taste of this lime tea with honey I am drinking. If I slowed right down I would discover this ecstasy in the smallest detail of everyday living.
So to recognise that I am suffering and that I can simply change channels by bringing my attention to something that is real in front of me in the present moment. A tree, a flower, birdsong, the feeling of air on the skin, the smell of fresh air after the rain.
I am quite used to doing this as part of normal emotional regulation and management, but had forgotten about it as discovering the underlying ecstasy that exists all the time. Noticed or not, it is there, our natural state. Happy!
The image of Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree comes to mind. How he sat with a slight smile as he was pummelled by an avalanche of temptations to fear and to desire by Mara.
This gives my life meaning to have a mission to learn to maintain equanimity no matter what comes my way to tempt me off centre.
Or perhaps underneath buddhism, and what Siddhartha discovered is how to sooth the limbic system and keep it soothed.