Come Back, Be Present

Ayyā Medhānandī Bhikkhunī

Come Back, Be Present

Come back, just come back. Be present while drinking that ‘cuppa’ and begin a new moment. Observe the mind’s restless thrashing – forever toppling us into the past and spilling us into the future. By stopping and returning to this moment, we create the right conditions to examine and feel our distress or rage with honest openness and understanding. That’s the balm we need for our festering wound.

So we tenderly approach our fear, despair, joy or excitement. And, as they subside, we can truly be with ourselves. We shed layers of distorted perception to witness the instability and inherent emptiness of everything of this world. All the memories and projections, fantasies and moods, judgments and obsessions that once overwhelmed us and our habitual reactions to them – craving or resisting – now appear as relentless currents of impermanent phenomena arising and ceasing. At last, we taste the peace of pure knowing.

But even while we savour that moment, it is already fading and disappointment lurks on the horizon. What must we do if we are not to be caught again? Beware of the blaming or guilt-laden thoughts in the mind, the aimless conjecture, or negativity. They will never free us for they are the bars of our self-made prison that keep us from the source of a lasting wisdom and happiness.

Evict those hooligans – not with hostility or impatience but firmly. Let them all go without wanting or demanding that they be other than they are. As we free ourselves from the spectre of their charade, they collapse and no longer influence how we feel or what we do. We are able to enter the unexplored caverns of the heart. But that can be unsettling. We would rather die in the ruins of our fear than brave the refining fire of Truth.

This reflection by Ayya Medhanandi is from the book, Gone Forth, Going Beyond, “Come from the Shadows,” (pdf) pp. 82-83.