“The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razors edge of NOW—to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence can survive in you. In the NOW, in the absence of time, all your problems dissolve.” Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now
I connect with the NOW on my yoga mat—Mastery of the moment, in a yoga class may be 60, or 6000 moments, and each one is a new opportunity to master that moment. There’s something about the ritual of taking off my shoes, leaving my material things outside the room, laying down my mat and greeting my practice the way I might greet a respected relative, or elder. I surrender to the lesson I’ll learn on my mat. All worries, fears, problems and thoughts are outside the studio door, with my shoes. It’s so clear to me when I walk into the studio that I’ve entered another state, I become Present. The same thing happens when I teach now. It’s like magic. Practicing and teaching instantly transport me to being in The Moment, each moment.
Of course, the next step is to take this state off the mat, and practice Mastery of the Moment in all areas of life. Slowly, there’s progress. I’m no master when it comes to Mastery of the Moment in daily life, but after years of practicing asana, it’s evolved to daily living. Today, when I do the dishes, I feel the warm water, I wash each dish, dry it and put it away, or in the dishwasher. I am not rushing, I’m happy to be doing the dishes and have come to enjoy that time each day, like my time on my mat, to surrender to the lessons of daily life’s chores.
Another example is our family’s “technology-free day,” started by my 9-year old. We don’t use anything that needs electricity (heat and a/c excluded) for a whole day. It’s her way of getting the whole family to be present and in the moment and connecting with each other. I love it! We play games, ride bikes, do art projects — together. I love that it was her idea!
Today, take five-minutes and do something you like to do, and be fully present. It can be yoga, or it can be listening to a friend, take a walk outside, or eat a meal and enjoy each bite, put all your attention onto each mouthful, the flavor, texture, that moment. No TV, no texting, no phone, not in the car, not on the run, but sitting down to eat and fully enjoying that meal. Maybe you’re already doing that. Congratulations! Then pick something else. Where do you live in the future? Running, rushing, to do lists that are 50 pages long. Give yourself the gift of five minutes today to practice Mastering the Moment.
Melisa Deane Casses