For example, a month ago I took a trip to Maine to see what I thought of the area with the idea that I might want to move there. I was very drawn to the ocean, it spoke to me, and I could see myself living in that area in the future. I felt that I was listening to my heart free of the intervention of thought.
Now, while it is true that the ocean affected me deeply, spiritually, and that was free of the intervention of thought, my feelings about the future of necessity involved imagining myself in the future in that place. And what is imagination but thought. My thinking mind had succeeded in deluding me that I was capable of seeing the future free of it. Even when meditating, one must be very careful that our thinking mind doesn’t delude us.
Besides, we all know from past experience that the future never turns out as we had imagined it. The future is just not knowable.
Which brings me back to one of my core mantras, “There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today. There is only the present moment; it is the only reality, all else is thought.”
As I sat meditating that day, present free of the intervention of thought, free of labels, I listened again to what my heart told me was the path to be at peace and content, happy. What I heard was the same thing I heard in the past and related in my advice post, “How To Know What To Do.”
- To follow my purpose which is to offer others joy and help relieve the suffering of others.
- To be in the company of loved ones and friends.
- To respect my mind - keep my mind engaged.
- To respect my body - stay physically fit.
- To be in touch with nature.
- To live within my means and thus be financially secure.
When I meditated on this today, the last line penetrated to my core. Previously, I said it almost as a throw-away line. Today, I knew that that line, just as, “the present is the only reality, all else is thought,” are essential truths. The only thing I can truly know, the only reality that I can observe is the present moment, because only the present moment can be experienced without the intervention of thought. It can “just be” if one is aware.
This is what it means to live simply. It’s not about how few possessions one has, or how little money one spends. It is about living in the present free of the intervention of thought, free of the pull of your thinking mind. Knowing that there need be no more to life than this to be at peace and content, happy.
And I can experience this regardless where I am or what my circumstances are. I know that if one lives each moment well, the future will take care of itself. All will be well, because regardless what life throws my way I will be at peace and content, happy, because I will be in touch with my true Buddha nature, free of the intervention of thought, and I will experience joy because I will always offer others joy and help relieve the suffering of others regardless of the situation I’m in.