Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the worlds earth revolves
-slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.
--Thich Nhat Hahn
Tea! Anyone who drinks tea understands that "moment" that Master T.N.H. talks about. Maybe it's impossible to allow on most mornings as we prepare for the day, guzzling something hot for the stomach, struggling to pull all the strands together before racing to whatever awaits us. But other days...we all understand what his simple words convey.
Mindfulness is such a keen antidote for suffering, and when Shakyamuni included it in the 8 Fold Path, he hoped that we might learn how to cultivate the heart-mind that holds awareness for the present moment as the very axis of our existence.
As Master T.N.H. says, "Only this moment is life."
What else is there?
Well, that's not hard to answer....there is craziness, drama, intrigue and mayhem, projection, aversion, delusion and anger. There is the tape-loop of our past that shows free, public movies by the second, then wonders why all those around us are a bit funky!
Or there's the future we dumbly chase after, a heavy golden ball headed down hill, knocking everything else out of its way, the only thing for which we have eyes.
And don't forget that old friend, the interior monolog, she who puffs up with self admiration or sinks glumly into the swampy goo, depending on the scream of Conditioned Self. The universe she builds, though she holds it so covetously, is nothing more than steam released from a boiling kettle...gone in an instant!
The ego so loves to tell its stories! That's the way it remains buttressed and seemingly in charge, but when we sit with a cup of tea, living just that moment, what is present? What is with us? What do we realize, and where does this realization take us? What are we?
What is this?
And as we get up from drinking our tea, what happens?
Try to notice what happens.
Make it an experiment; who am I when I finish my tea?
What do I do? Does my awareness remain fresh or have I frozen it? What happens to the moment?
And the next moment, and the next?
Where is the bell that signals that the race has begun, the gates have shot open, and the rest is just a blur?
Who rings the bell?