As I stroked my six year-old’s head, her brow clammy from fever, I was still and present.
I remembered something I’d heard a few days earlier: “Enlightenment is living in the present, moment after moment after moment.”
Being present. Such a lovely idea. Not to be oscillating between the anger/guilt/regret of the past and the fear/anxiety/expectation of the future. Oh, what a joy it would be to trade in being a human pinball for peace in the present moment..
Hardly doable for a mere (neurotic) mortal like myself.
And then I remembered a story that Swami Chinmayananda once told. As a young devotee, he once found himself sitting next to the eminent Jiddu Krishnamurti. Eager to ask the great man some questions, he cleared his throat and started to speak. At that point, Krishnamurtiji looked up and quietly said, “Young man, when I eat, I eat.”
Eka tattva abhyaasa. This is what it’s called in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: to focus one’s mind on one thing, and one thing only: one-pointedness.
One thing at one time, giving it my all. This was something I could do.
All that remained now, was to bring the lessons from the past into the present. This I could call wisdom. And I would bring the future into the present. This I would call intuition.
I needed to be alert, wise and intuitive. This is when I could relax, let go, and be present.
And, maybe like Krishnamurtiji before me, this is when I would be able to enjoy having my cake, and eating it too.