Everyone is always saying “Be in the Present”, “Experience the Now”, the author of the best seller “The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle advises, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
All that wise sayings are helpful, but how indeed do we realise the Present?? No matter how much wisdom one can read or hear, when shit hits the fan one still gets agitated and upset.
Anapana Sati – The Practical Application
On the first day of Vipassana, we were gifted Anapana Sati meditation and instructed solely to observe our breath. Just natural breathing, as it comes in and as it goes out.. While seemingly simple, it is actually the hardest thing to do!
“Ana” means breathing in, and “Apana” means breathing out. “Sati” means awareness of. This simple technique is what we practised for 3 days. I watched my breath come and go naturally; it fills up and then ebbs away, consciously or unconsciously.
The breath is only thing that we can control consciously, that also happens naturally when we are unconscious of it. We think we know it all. We think we can control our body, but in reality what we control are only the motor organs. So many actions happen below our level of consciousness in our visceral organs. Thus the breath is a key bridge, a link between our motor organs and our autonomic nervous system.
When one becomes aware of the breath as it is, one develops the capability to observe the natural involuntary reactions that are always happening throughout the body. The pumping of the heart, the constant regulation of heat in the body, the subatomic particles vibrations of the body. This subtlety of the mind can be developed, if one simply observes the natural breath.
Accepting Reality as it is
In Yoga, we are familiar with regulation of the breath. Pranayama exercises to regulate the breath and the life force is a vital step in Yoga. When I was told the exact opposite here, I found it excruciatingly difficult. I was forced to surrender – to accept reality as it is, not what I want it to be.
I came to realise that my awareness of the passing of each breath anchored me to be in the present. Whenever my mind is jumping to the past or the future, the breath pulled me back to the present moment.
There is only 2 directions our minds travel – the past and the future, they are never in the present. The breath is the only way we can anchor ourselves to the present moment.
By being in the present, I came to realise the truth of what every wise person preaches. I felt the fullness of each moment. I experienced the completeness and the wholeness of the present, as each moment passes on to the next.
I lacked nothing. For each moment is so beautifully, achingly complete. I had the power of Now, if only for mere seconds.
That few seconds changed me utterly. Imagine what it could do for you.