The photo is of a papaver hybridum, or “Queen’s Poppy”, in our backyard. Each magnificent bloom lasts only a day before its ephemeral beauty blows away.
Like a short-lived blossom, each moment is a purity unto itself. Ephemeral. Unrepeatable. Unique. Having its own meaning apart from any other moment.
Our minds try to categorize and order our moments. We assign them meaning and place them in the context of other moments. That’s normal and necessary in order to function in daily life. The downside is that we lose the purity of the moment. We create stories to explain or control events, which takes us out of experiencing the next moment freely, as it is.
I go out into the yard and step in dog poop. I’m annoyed. I clean off my shoe. It’s an unpleasant task. As I approach the door to the house, I have a choice.
One option: Will I carry the annoyance inside with me? Will I keep it alive with a narrative about how the dogs always poop in the most inconvenient places and then blame myself for not picking up the poop every day? As I turn the door knob, I’m still in the backyard, irritated, and I bring that foul mood into the house.
Another option: I leave the annoyance in the backyard. It happened. I choose to move on to the next experience. I turn the door knob and am greeted by two dogs, tails wagging, whose exuberance lights me up.
“Just know, ‘I am not the imagination’ and be free.” Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj (as rendered by Prasanna)
Our imaginations birth art, weave tales, invent products, and dream us into new potentials. They also generate unnecessary drama, prolong suffering, and create negative fantasies that have no root in reality.
You are not what your imagination generates. Know this and be free.
Experience what is happening. Feel the emotions. Perhaps even indulge in weaving a tale around that experience.
Then realize you have a choice:
Buy into the tale as absolutely true and fan the emotional flame it evokes for minutes (or hours, days, even years).
Or hold the tale lightly as one possible perspective and then let it go in order to experience the purity of the next moment.
If the moment is “sticky” (hard to release), breathe and refocus on what is currently happening. Focused attention on the present is an easier path to freedom than trying to let go of the past.
There is choice in every moment. What will you choose next?