We do not know what to do about many things, and we have no control over many more things, but this moment, here and now, demands our presence and our response. All of our anxiety and anguish over what will happen can be set aside for this moment right here, right now, and we can attend to the matters at hand-- listening to what is being called for, seeing what is happening and what needs to happen in response, and we can wash the dishes, or the clothes, or let the dog out, or in, take a shower, pay bills... Our full participation in the time and place of our living, moment-by-moment, is required by the forces that have arraigned for us to be here, now. It is no accident that we are here, now. We were born for this moment, right here, right now. This is our time to shine! We cannot miss the moment with our name on it because of something that might, or might not happen tomorrow, or next year. Let tomorrow's troubles wait until tomorrow! Today's aren't done with us yet! This ride is for one day at a time!
This is from Joseph Campbell, in Myths to Live By: "The incredible beauty of life in the world (properly perceived) lies in recognizing great poverty, suffering, cruelty and injustices, all the usual concomitants of existence in this vale of tears, as being present there in full measure--as they are everywhere, and as they will be, world without end. But there is also, as the Buddhists say, escape from suffering. The escape from suffering is nirvāna. And nirvāna is this world itself, exactly as it is, when experienced without desire and fire, just as it is. It is here! It is here!" The world is to be perceived as an optical illusion, presenting us with two views of reality at the same time, but which are apparent only one-at-a-time-- but the two are one, and what we emphasize is "the way it is," and what we de-emphasize is "the way it also is." We live with a foot in each world, and are citizens of both worlds. Yin and Yang. Contradictions at the heart of life and being, bound together throughout time, neither canceling out the other, both the foundational opposite of the other, coming together as one in the mind of those who see them as they are (and also are). We join the worlds when we say, "YES!" to both, and bind them together in our willing, even welcoming, embrace, and "participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world," as though it is our very delight to do so, because it is!
Meditation is contemplation is reflection leading to new realizations and a new relationship with ourselves, other people, and the world in which we live. It is a transformative way of perceiving what we look at, of knowing what we think we know, that changes the way we live. Just as we breathe all the time, without intentionally breathing any of the time, so, we can reflect, contemplate, meditate constantly, without formally, intentionally, calling "time out" from what we are doing to do it. We can live meditatively just by shifting into a mode of "receptive presence," in which we receive the moment, moment-by-moment, into our awareness, and being aware of everything about it, including our emotional reaction to it, evaluate it all in terms of what is happening and what is called for and offering what we have to give in the service of balance and harmony and the good of the whole, with all things considered. If you can do better than that, do it!
Everybody wants what is good for them. Nobody knows what that is. Everybody thinks they do. And here we are. What does wanting know? "Absolutely nothing!" We spend our life learning that fundamental rule of existence. What we want is not a trustworthy guide. No one wants to grow up. We all grow up against our will. Joseph Campbell capsules it for us: "Do what you want!" he says, "Not what someone else tells you to want!" And then he says, "That which you seek lies far back in the darkest corner of the cave you most do not want to enter!" What's good for us? That which we most do not want! Walt Kelly nailed us a few years back: "We have met the enemy, and he is us!" Which puts us where? With having to see what we look at, and know what we know! We cannot stop too soon on the path to the Land of Promise! We have to go all the way to the end of the line! No stopping before it's done! This means it is not a matter of getting what we want! We are all called beyond what we want to what wants us! We are here to serve a purpose not our own! We belong to another, whom we do not know! And cannot begin to live-- to be fully alive-- until we understand the full implications of "Thy will, not mine, be done!" Whose will is operative in our life? Who is guiding our boat on it's path through the sea? Why do we do what we do? Who is in charge here? How do we get to the bottom of who we are? We start with knowing we do not know! We are awash in the Mystery of Life and Being! Sit still and be quiet until you know you do not know what you need to know to do what needs you to do it. Then, begin listening on a level beyond wants and wishes and dreams of happiness ever after. Listen to the source of what you hear. Listen to the center of who you are. Listen to the origin of your ideas about good and bad, you and not you and also you. Seek all there is to know about you. Chase everything that comes up in the silence back to where it came from. Why this? Why now? What is it saying? What do I need to hear? How am I blocking what is calling my name? The adventure begins when we stop thinking we are in charge, and seek the source of the summons to find our life and live it. Even if it lies far back in the darkest corner of the cave we most don't want to enter.