We focus on the present moment so that we give the mind a sense of feeling at home here. This is the place where you belong.
Now, for most of us, we don’t live here. We live in the past, we live in the future, and come running through the present moment just for a moment, like a kid who doesn’t spend much time at home. He wants something from home, comes running in, and then he goes running out again.
But right here is where a lot of decisions are being made. And, as life goes on, this awareness right here with the body is going to become a bigger and bigger issue. As the body begins to break down, illness comes, pain comes. Soon you find yourself less and less able to do things you used to be able to do before. The mind gets more and more roped into being here, much against its will.
But if you learn how to settle in here well in advance, you have a sense of how the awareness in the present moment can relate to the body in such a way that it doesn’t have to suffer from the issues in the body. That way, aging, illness, and death are not much of a problem. They’re simply issues of the body, but the mind doesn’t have to suffer.
So you want to get this moment, the present moment, more and more under your control. You want to get the mind under control. You want to get more and more familiar with the territory. It’s as if someone is threatening to mug you at a certain corner, so you go down and look at the corner and you figure out: Where are the escape routes that allow you to run away? How can you escape? How can you get through safely?
This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the book, Meditations 9, (pdf) p.63.