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There is Only Now

"In Zen, there is no next."

Zen Teaching

Have you ever noticed just how simple everything is right Now? Chances are that, as you read this you're sitting in a chair; you're breathing, sounds are arising around you and your relaxed (or not). Perhaps you are enjoying your favorite beverage, or have music or the T.V. on in the background. You are probably not facing any immediate danger right now, and everything is at ease in your surroundings. Pretty simple, isn't it? Notice how everything is arising spontaneously and effortlessly, without you having to do anything to make it happen. You might even ask yourself the great Zen question, "What problem do I have, right Now?" If we are honest, most of our life has unfolded with this kind of ease and simplicity.

The mind (the voice in your head) however, is rarely at ease in the simplicity of the present moment, and instead, is almost always lost in thinking about the future, and obsessed with the challenges that you apparently face. The mind constantly worries about what might happen, and is filled with anxiety about what to do if it does happen. It wanders in a state of constant agitation; comparing this moment with other moments, and almost always finding this moment lacking in some way. In this perpetual state of unease, we find ourselves unable to relax and appreciate the simplicity and joy of the actual present moment, as it is.

The whole point of so-called spiritual practice is to re-train ourselves to Be Here Now in the unfolding reality of this moment, and to actually notice just how easy everything is right where we are. The practice of meditation gently leads us out of the fantasies and chaos of the mind, and back to what is actually happening right in front of us. Since our whole life will unfold in this space called the Now, why not come home to what is happening right Here, and be present to what is unfolding right Now? Why not come home to your actual Life? Though we may think that the so-called spiritual path is about something else, it can actually be boiled down to this one simple question, "Here and Now, is there anything lacking?"

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