Minute Meditations

Living in the Present

Much derails us. Noise, distraction, an inability to say no, an inability to have boundaries for a healthy self. Our internal worrier will continue to pester us: “What’s the secret? How do we actually practice it?” But that is the enigma, isn’t it? Life turns left and does somersaults when we least expect it. So, we juggle and we multitask. And we want someone to give us the answers. We want someone to balance it all or give us the list. Living in the present, fully alive and wholehearted, is not a technique. There is no list. And chances are, we pass by life—the exquisite, the messy, the enchanting, the untidy, the inexplicable—on our way to someplace we think we ought to be. When life throws us a curve that makes our present moment loom larger than anything else, we learn to shift our focus. There is meaning—consequence, value, import—only when what we believe or teach touches this moment. In other words, it’s the small (and specific) stuff that really does matter. Belief is all well and good, but there has to be skin on it—something we touch, see, hear, taste, and smell. The ordinary really is the hiding place for the holy.

To stand still is to practice Sabbath—meaning literally, to rest. To stop. To savor uncluttered time. To be gentle with yourself. And yes, to waste time with God. The bottom line? I’m no longer chasing what I assume will fill empty spaces in order to make me something I am not. Replenishment begins here: “I am enough.” In our Western mindset, living in the present becomes a staged event—staged to be “spiritual,” as if this is something we must orchestrate or arrange. No wonder we sit stewing in the juices of our self-consciousness (“Am I present? What am I doing right or wrong?”), all the while missing the point.

—from the book Stand Still: Finding Balance When the World Turns Upside Down,
by Terry Hershey, page ix

Stand Still by Terry Hershey


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