Peace, serenity, even joy–are they goals we can even dream of attaining? They seem like naive, even ridiculous concepts in the face of the often painfully harsh realities of existence. Our lives seem to be rushing along a torrent of time. From crisis to crisis we barely seem to keep our heads above the raging river of life. But what if we could find serenity anytime we choose? What if it was achievable regardless of life's circumstances?
And what does existential joy even mean? In essence it describes a basic optimism about being alive. It is not dependent upon day to day success or failure. It is an underlying appreciation and gratitude for just being alive–with all its pleasure and pain. It offers the eternal possibility of healing and serenity.
Those individuals who have acquired the skill of meditation are often capable of finding such moments. They can escape the torrent of time by being present in the timeless moment. Ironically the term seems like an oxymoron–timeless moment. But what occurs when we stop thinking for a moment and just "be" is precisely that.
If we can learn the skill of being with our breath. If we can retreat from thinking and feeling for a moment, we can escape from time as well. It is fascinating to realize that when we are present with the breath (as described in prior postings) we are not thinkging or feeling at all.
Now I am not advocating "escapism" as a solution to life's difficulties. On the contrary meditation allows us to experience our mind's activities from the perspective of the observer. Rather than suppress them, we acknowledge them. We then slip away for a moment to be with our breath. For most of us, this is a short respite. But with practice the skill can be improved.
Just recognizing that our mind processes and creates our reality is enlightening. This awareness may allow us to turn towards moments throughout our chaotic days in which there is exquisite natural beauty we may not otherwise notice. We tend to be victims of time, feeling the crush of deadlines and responsibility like a weight of suffering.
By being attuned to seeking the timeless moment we may become more aware of other moments– when compassion and kindness are expressed. These are times which we might just ignore because its signs are not as loud and intrusive as anger, insensitivity or fear.
Seek to find the timeless moment. It may be a difficult task but well worth the effort.