present-moment

That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.
—  Osho
The Practice of Mindfulness Meditation

‘Before we start practicing mindfulness meditation, we must know how to practice. We need to have the right information and a clear understanding of the practice to work with awareness intelligently. This information will work at the back of your mind when you meditate.

1. Meditating is watching and waiting patiently with awareness and understanding. Meditation is not trying to experience something you have read about or heard about.

2. When meditating, both the body and mind should be comfortable.

3. You are not trying to make things turn out the way you want them to happen. You are trying to know what is happening as it is.

4. You have to accept and watch both good and bad experiences. You only want good experiences? You don’t want even the tiniest unpleasant experience? Is this reasonable? Is this the way of the dhamma?

5. Don’t feel disturbed by the thinking mind. You are not practicing to prevent thinking, but rather to recognize and acknowledge thinking whenever it arises.

6. The object of attention is not really important: the observing mind that is working to be aware is of real importance. If the observing is done with the right attitude, any object is the right object.

7. Just pay attention to the present moment. Don’t get lost in thoughts about the past. Don’t get carried away by thoughts about the future.’

- Sayadaw U Tejaniya, Observing Minds Want to Know, Summer 2008 edition of Tricycle The Buddhist Review.

For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, “Now, I’ve arrived!” Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.
—  Alan Watts
You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.
—  Anthony Robbins
We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.
— 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Time

The reason we live like we do is because of our sense of time. We invented time, and now we live by it like it’s our god. It’s time for breakfast? It’s time for work, it’s time for lunch, it’s time for dinner…. we structure our days based on time and in the end we discover we have no time because we spent it all. We have to ask our boss for permission to take time off. We have to plan vacations based on time spent there. We’re always in a rush to get there on time. The idea of time, keeps the mind busy and always focused externally.

Animals, having no sense of time beyond daybreak and night fall, they relax, they eat when hungry play when they feel like it, and meditate as a relaxation method because that’s what meditation is, it’s conscious sleep. It’s relaxation. Cats, dogs you name it, can do nothing for hours because it feels so good to go within and just rest in the inner peace of the internal world. So when they appear to be doing nothing to us, they’re really having the time of their lives internally.

Where as human beings the moment they have the time to be in boredom they begin to think about all the times that went wrong. So humans never make it to the internal world within them. They get stuck in time, and past experiences define them, thus creating their own limitations and creating goofy systems of belief that lead to goofy ways of living. Take a look at some of the crazy things religions do, or terrorists do, or political mindsets do…. because people never connect with who they are at the core behind all those beliefs. Like a cat does every hour. Because we have skewed time as a god, and we live by the clock right down til our time runs out.

When all we ever had to realize is that there is no time, there never was, there is only now, this moment, we’re always now, it’s everlasting, every moment passes through now, and we can only experience now. It is time that has trapped our minds into slavery, and we don’t have the time to realize that.

All Moments Are Equally Precious

‘The Buddha’s Eightfold Path can either build upon or dismantle the sense-of-self, depending upon how we use it. When aligned within its proper orientation, the path appears like a perfectly formed diamond, each facet complimenting the beauty of the whole. After my meeting with Nisargadatta, the Buddha’s teaching became breathtaking in its simplicity and elegance. The entire path was, and had always been, accessible. prolonged retreats in silence or conversations over dinner had the same reference point. Nothing was ever at odds with its opposite. Every practice and action has its place and appropriate time, but never contradicted or enhanced what was already there. Everything was perfectly together, and every moment arose from that perfection.

This was the beginning of my understanding of lay Buddhism. A lay Buddhist is one who fully embodies his or her entire life of work, family, and relationships without spiritually prioritizing any activity. From this perspective all moments are equally precious, and whether we are practicing formal meditation on retreat or showing up for ordinary moments of our lay life, freedom is never diminished. The unequivocal resolve not to move away from where we are is essential. Once we abandon the belief that there is a more spiritually useful moment than the one we are in, we have embraced our life and infused it with the energy for awakening.’

- Rodney Smith, Undivided Mind, from the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.