The ocean is one of my favorite places to be. It’s one of my happy places. Heaven on earth. The last time I was at the beach, watching the endless varied repetition of the ebb and flow of the waves, I realized that one of the things I love about the ocean and the beach is the changeability, the impermanence. The waves will always arrive, but they will never be the same each time. The beach and dunes will look different every time I step on to it. No storm is ever just the same. We change incrementally every day, just like everything else. Change is the only thing we can be sure of. This can be frightening . . . or reassuring. Our choice.
We go back and forth between being on auto-pilot and being aware. Auto-pilot is the unconscious, unthinking, reactive way we often do things. We have a lot of repetitive tasks to take care of, and sometimes it’s easier to zone out and just get through them without thinking too much. When we do that, we aren’t even noticing our life. We aren’t noticing Life flowing through us.
We can mindlessly wash the dishes, or drive (ever have that experience of, how did I get here? I didn’t even notice the road here . . .), or listen to a friend or family member. We’re not really present. And then we miss the uniqueness of that moment. We don’t notice all the subtle nuances our friend is communicating in so many way besides their words. We miss the delightful slipperiness of the soap on our hands. We don’t take a moment to think, how wonderful that I have running water literally at my fingertips! We fail to appreciate that we have a car that takes us where we want to go.
Are we necessarily slowed down by being so aware? Possibly. Is that a bad thing? Only if we judge it to be bad. If we just are willing to absorb and experience more of Life’s moments, we may find that things we thought were important just aren’t that important. By being in contact with our true nature of awareness, appreciation, gratitude, acceptance and love for what is happening right here and now, no matter what it is, we don’t miss the moment. We notice the exquisite movement of Life through us and around us. We have the possibility for more joy by taking our time. It might be enough to watch the waves, watch the cat, listen intently to a friend without thinking of what to say next (a habit called “already listening”). It might be valuable to observe how we feel in this moment, what’s going through our mind, what thoughts we might be thinking . . . without even being aware that we are entertaining those thoughts. And when we’re not aware of what we are thinking or feeling, we wonder why we’re having the experiences we are. In awareness, we have the opportunity to make a choice to do or think something different, and thus have a different experience. If we are aware.
It might be uncomfortable at first to practice this present-ness, this conscious consciousness. That’s OK. Like everything else, it’s a practice. And then one day, we will feel the ease and joy of falling into this moment, and the next and the next.
The good feeling that is generated by taking more loving care of ourselves by willing to be more present, more aware, will fill us up and make sure we do whatever we need to do, to accomplish. We won’t stay in a place of just being and not doing. That good feeling is buoyant and will float us just where you need to go. Effortlessly. And we can trust we will always do what we need to do, if we allow the good and loving feeling to be part of the process.