I have been reading a great deal lately on the wisdom of The Eight Limbs of Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism as it applies to our Western trained minds. I am currently enjoying the classic Awakening The Buddha Within,” by American author and Buddhist teacher, Lama Surya Das. The author has a lovely sense of humor when trying to compare how our minds are always everywhere else but where we actually are. He says:
“Of course, we are usually sort of elsewhere and not fully present, but, as in some prize drawings, you must be present to win.”
For all that I looked for a good example of this in his book, the place where I actually found what I was seeking was, naturally, in the present moment in my own life. The person who gifted me this example was not some famous author or spiritual teacher. It was my 10-year-old granddaughter.
Gabriella, (Gabby for short), loves to cook. I gifted her my old, tattered copy of The Betty Crocker Cookbook, the bible of cooking when I was a young bride decades ago. Watching Gabby work her way through a recipe is a lesson in being present. Her focus is on the ingredients, following each line one at a time, and being mindful of each step. Her concentration is totally on what she is doing to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. In any other area of her life, her mind is all over the place just like any 10-year-old, but in the kitchen she is totally present. She shows up as the cook she wishes to be.
How do we show up in our lives? Creating an authentic life is fine and dandy but if we don’t show up for it, what good was all the work we put into creating it? It’s like mixing the ingredients for the ultimate chocolate cake and then forgetting about it, leaving the batter in the bowl to turn hard and useless. We have to put that cake in the oven, keep our attention on the temperature and the time, and the enjoy the finished product. We have to allow ourselves to lick the spoon, inhale the aroma and taste that cake with every fiber of our being.
The same holds true for our lives. We have to allow ourselves to “lick that spoon,” and be there for every minute of it. We need to engage all of our physical senses as well as our spiritual and mental senses and experience every moment. In this way we are not only truly living the authentic life we have created, but we are also showing up in the world as an example of what authentic living is for those around us. Who knows how far our light will shine?
This week’s assignment on the Home Page is going to ask you to “whip up a recipe for living.” As always, have fun with it, stay present, and keep writing!
Peace and blessings.