The Beauty of Now

This morning I was awakened by a type of Zen alarm clock.. This “green” alarm doesn’t run on batteries or electricity, it is powered instead by tuna. It is a fish-driven, automated, purring, licking, biting machine. It is relentless and is striped, weighing about 9 pounds. My efforts to ignore it (her) were pointless as she was able to find the smallest piece of exposed body part to lick or bite.

As I was flicking my cat away from my face this morning I was thinking of another type of awakening that is happening on our planet right now and that is the awakening of consciousness. When I first heard of the concept of “waking up” I didn’t quite understand what it meant. Over the years as I have become more present in my own life I have a better sense of just what it means to be awake.

The simplest explanation of it is to be present. Sometimes we are present in body only. We go through the motions of living but are not fully engaged mentally, emotionally or spiritually. This is an easy trap to fall into when there is too much going on in your life. You “numb out” and stop feeling. You don’t think too much about your life because it seems that it is predestined and that it is too difficult to make any changes. There is simply no time for spiritual practice or private time. You keep busy on the treadmill of life. You are running the proverbial rat race.

To wake up means that we become aware of what is going on around us and in our lives. We live life conscious of our choices and the affects/effects that these have. It means that we start paying more attention and notice that life is made up of little moments. This is the Zen idea of the power of being in the now. It is also the idea shared by Jesus that the kingdom of God is here—it is now.

It is only in the present, waking moment of the now that we experience life. The past is no longer here, even though we waste much of our time, energy and attention looking back at it. The future only exists as a possibility although we waste much of our time, energy, and attention worrying about what will happen.

The power of choice exists in the present moment. It is in the present that we are able to move mountains. It is in the present that we experience the beauty in life. It is only in the present that we breathe in fragrance or notice color of the sky. It is only in the present that we can become aware of how our body feels or what it is like to be hot or cold or full or hungry.

To become more conscious is to become awake to your own life. It begins with waking up to the “now”. Have you been sleeping? It’s time to wake up!