The Lake Is Back
(My mother wrote to me that this blog is becoming too sophisticated that it’s a struggle for her to read it. My guess is that she meant she cannot feel me or my thought process in what she reads here. Mother, this post is for you!)
We are back in Real de Chapala near Guadalajara, Mexico to teach the Keys2Greatness seminar. Coming here from Seattle in February is like coming out of a dark room or a cave into the light. I love the February sun in this part of Mexico. It’s soft, warm and caressing. I begin to thaw. The speed is different here. It’s slower. People don’t seem to be worried about what the stock market will do tomorrow or the Super Tuesday’s winners.
I like to arrive a day before each seminar begins. It gives me a chance to breathe in the nature of the place and its energy and to calibrate my speed. Relaxing in the sun is so very peaceful. I look out on the lake. Last summer when we were here for a leadership program the lake was out from shore about 200 meters or 600 feet. The water level had been down for a number of years and the local talk at that time was all about an imminent ecological disaster and how it might impact the area. Today the lake is back. The water comes right to the edge of the resort’s soccer field. Seeing the return of the lake causes me to reflect on the nature of human perception and awareness.
We live in times where “today” or this week is all the mind can hold and there’s a good reason for that. The intensity of impressions, the non-stop news cycle and the dynamic shape-shifting situations of life don’t allow us to process much more than this very moment. It’s curious. The Western mind has come full circle only to find itself right smack in the middle of the Buddhist idea and teaching that NOW is all that there is; that yesterday or tomorrow are only an illusion of the mind. All you really have is this moment; and when the future is actualized it becomes the present. The Western mind is not pressed into this through emptiness or meditative clearing of itself from any thought. Rather it is forced into it as a result of the over fullness or having too much to handle. Being in the now, in this very minute then becomes not some New Age idea but the only personal management strategy that works. Worrying about the past or having anxiety about the future tires your mind, weakens your immune system and robs your energy.
Yesterday is no more, it’s gone. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Tomorrow may or may not come for you. It will be here with you or without you. So all you really have is today. The future is the moment by moment discovery of what happens now and then in the next now.
What all this has to do with the lake? Well, the lake is back. It doesn’t worry about its yesterday or its tomorrow. It is being and doing what it is and does today. For the lake there is no yesterday or tomorrow. Time is a continuum and the lake lives in the moment, inside that continuum.
Can you be fully present in the conversation you are engaged in? Can you live in the moment inside the continuum of your life and its unfolding story?
© Aviv Shahar