When The Present Isn’t a Present

It seems I keep writing (and teaching) about being in the present moment. But what if you are not enjoying what you’re doing, what if the present moment is unbearable?

Obviously not all moments will be honkey dorey (love that word!). I had a moment a few weeks ago where I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin because it felt so uncomfortable. I did not want the present, I wanted to escape, I wanted to numb out. But I stayed and I was present with it— and although it still sucked, there was something surprisingly beautiful about being so radically present with my own suffering.

This is the idea behind mindfulness or stepping back and being a witness, or as I say in class, being in that place inside that never changes, despite your thoughts, feelings, or whatever happens to you in your life.

I also tried to remember what Pema Chodron would say: “notice your suffering and say to yourself, well isn’t this interesting?”

And even if you can’t, or if you’re not there yet, remember instant forgiveness. My teacher once told me that Yogi Bhajan (founder of Kundalini Yoga) once said to his students, “I am no different than any of you. The only difference is I forgive myself instantly.”

Luckily we are changing every moment. Our cells are constantly regenerating. The past is literally a moment-by-moment phenomenon. Every moment, every breath, is a new beginning on a real, physical level, where even if we can’t be present, we can always automatically forgive ourselves.

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6 Responses so far.

  1. Stephanie says:

    This is so beautiful!

  2. Jackie Rabinoff says:

    Truly inspiring Barbara. So lucky to have you as my teacher!

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