Sunday, November 8, 2015


Thursday morning, driving up I-5 to work, I spent the entire trip in an agitated, desperate state, thinking about a situation at work, only to find upon arriving at the office that it wasn't at all what I thought it had been.  On another day I spent an hour in fear, about a voice mail on my phone that I  didn't want to play because I assumed it was bad news about my mother.  When I played the message, I discovered the news was good; my mother is doing well, and is coming home from the hospital.

Sometimes I wonder if we get attached to these mistaken perceptions of what's happening in our world partly because facing the truth can be humbling. The truth is that we are capable of making assumptions about our world that are wildy mistaken. On top of that, the emotions can be so convnicing that we forget to look at the evidence, which is the events that we actually know about.

The power over these states, of course, is the deceptively simple act of bare attention.  Lately, when I find my mind racing, I ask myself, "what is happening now?"  The question has a powerful way of reminding me that almost all of the moments in my life are beautiful, quiet and loving.  The hard moments can so hard, but the truth is that the overwhelming majority of the moments in my life are magical opportunities to watch the leaves fall, see the rain clouds lower the sky, or feel joy on seeing a loved one.

What is happening now?  I'm sitting in my little pub, writing this column.  Outside, there is a row of maple trees, yellow with autumn.  As I watch, a single leaf floats down from one of them every time there is a breeze.  A heavy, dark porter sits next to my computer and every sip is a subtle dance of aroma, flavor and texture.  Elizabeth smiled at me, Dan asked me about my day, and Diane hugged me, like she always does.

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