Tag Archives: In The Moment

“The Present Moment Is Filled With Joy And Happiness…” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Jennifer Miller 2012“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

Thich Nhat Hanh from “Peace Is Every Step: The Path Of Mindfulness In Everyday Life”

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“In The Flow Of The Moment” With Sea Lions While Kayaking Off The Coast Of Laguna Beach

By Jennifer Miller

The beauty in nature can teach us so much about life and our place in it. I have been kayaking in the ocean on Saturday mornings for the past few weeks and have come to marvel at the simple wonders that abound off the coast.

We launched through the surf and were immediately “skimming” through a unique world, where sea lions frolicked in the water and shared a large rock with pelicans and other birds. These creatures were clearly “in the moment”, present within themselves as they swam, searched for food and basked in the sun. I could watch (and learn from them) for hours!

Landing at Laguna’s Main Beach, I met a homeless woman on a bench reading a Bible. She agreed to watch the kayak and paddles, which we had parked next to her sleeping bag and worldly possessions, for us while we walked over to a local cafe for breakfast. She asked if we could bring her back a cup of ice water but we included a bagel. She was very grateful for the little surprise. The beauty of simple moments in life.

 The trip back north along the coastline was remarkable for the different activities of people “sharing” the sea: snorkelers, scuba divers, paddle boarders, kayakers, and swimmers.

We encountered over thirty outdoor enthusiasts on our five-mile paddle, yet the only sounds were that of the waves, birds and barking sea lions.  The quote by Gandhi was never more appropriate:

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” 

Approaching the completion of our journey, the final landing reminded me of an episode of Hawaii 50 and riding a wave in through the surf. All went according to plan until two waves first spun the kayak sideways and then dumped us unceremoniously on the sand and foaming water. The shock of first being in silent partnership with nature and then being “roughed up” by its power and unpredictability, is truly a metaphor for life.

Our lives can proceed in planned and simple harmony and then “wham”, we are knocked off our feet and must struggle with disruption and crisis. But picking ourselves up, drying off, and re-establishing order is a necessity for a happy life. We must find the humor in painful moments which will keep us grounded, and not over-reacting to circumstances.

Just like the flow of the ocean, we must “go with the flow” of our lives. The only absolute constant in life, is change. It is how we react to and handle this change, that determines our happiness. I choose to be at peace in life, and staying in the moment.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

“Just Detach From False Mental Objects And Be Enlightened To Being-As-Is” – Baizhang Huaihai

Baizhang Huaihai (720-814 AD)

“Mindfulness…Is The Observing Of Things As They Are,…Without Laying Or Adding…Expectations Onto What Is Happening.” – Frank Jude Boccio

“Dwelling In The Present Moment, I Know This Is A Wonderful Moment” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Twenty Years Later: “I Feel Your Pain…But Not My Own”

By Jennifer Miller

The year 2012 will be remembered for many important events and  happenings. Two of the biggest are the London Olympics and our own Presidential Election on November 6. But 2012 is also significant in that it has been 20 years since President Bill Clinton made his famous statement in March 1992:

“I feel your pain.”

While it is very difficult to feel another person’s pain, or suffering, unless you have “walked in their shoes”, we can all feel our own emotions, including pain. But why is it that so few people are actually able or willing to feel real emotions?

Do the activities and distractions in our lives numb our inner feelings?

Is it our culture of overconsumption, where we overeat and overspend, and in the extreme, abuse alcohol and drugs?

People are often afraid to go inward and truly connect with their real, raw emotions. It exposes us and makes us vulnerable…but also makes us more authentic. And humble. Getting to the real cause of personal pain and anger can often involve nothing more that looking at ourselves as we are now, not at who we were in the past. We are not that person any more. Forgive that person or move on from that person. Benefit from the often humorous process of “observing yourself” at this very time in your life. I often feel like a stand-up comic,  with an audience of “none” as I go inward and self-reflect. But it makes me aware of the moment.

I am one with my espresso coffee machine in the morning. I am one with my two dogs while I walk them. I am one with my cutting board as I prepare vegetables for cooking.

Do I feel like saying “enough already” and want to rejoin the noisy fray? Sometimes. But to go inward is so much more rewarding. I connect with my inner feelings and shower them with positive reflections. This can often produce the little miracles and happy endings that make life worth living.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

“Breathing In The Moment To Stay Centered And Balanced” By Jennifer Miller

“Durvasana”

Arriving at the Yoga Center, I roll out my mat and make sure it lines up with walls that surround me. Each time I place my feet on this six-foot long, 2-foot wide space, I have a feeling of  “returning home”. I fill my lungs with deep breaths, exhaling and begin the process of “letting go”.

In yoga, this breathing technique is known as “Ujjayi”, a Sanskrit word that means “to be victorious”. Breathing, or “Pranayama”, engages the diaphragm and the “chakras”, or “force centers”, producing a sound similar to waves crashing in the ocean. I feel a calming and quieting of my mind and begin a move inward.

“Ujjayi” is important in overcoming distractions, which prevent focus as we move towards “being in the moment”.

This mind-body connection produces a warming of the body, which increases to an intense heat in my pelvis as I bend and stretch deeply. I fuel this rise in energy with deep breaths, and become one with my movements, aware of the energy in the room created by other dedicated yogis.

I am grateful to my teacher and happily drive an hour each way to the Ashtanga Yoga Center. Nearing the end of my 1 1/2 hour practice, I complete work on a third-series pose called “Durvasana”, where I am standing with one leg behind my head. This pose requires me to stay centered and balanced, as I continue the journey inward towards my essential self.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

“Quieting The Mind, Yoga Alows Us To Be In The Moment” By Jennifer Miller

One of the great benefits of yoga, in addition to increased strength and flexibility, is that it promotes the peaceful state necessary for self-reflection, letting us go “inward” to establish a “mind-body-spirit” connection and nourish our soul.

Other forms of physical exercise require a great deal of external focus, with our mind and body “engaged” with equipment and people around us.

Yoga allows me to “be in the moment”, quieting my mind to focus on “being where I am.”

To “be in the moment” is a goal of “meditation”.  Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, developed “mindfulness meditation” to help people reduce the suffering coming from chronic pain and stress in their lives. This included a method of “moment-to-moment” awareness that allowed for increased “coping skills”.

Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) program combined Hatha Yoga and meditation to achieve extraordinary health benefits. But, in writing “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, he beautifully described what all of us can achieve when we quiet the mind:

“From the perspective of meditation, every state is a special state, every moment a special moment.”

How cool is that? Our modern society does a great job of promoting life’s “special moments” but requires most of us to “purchase” these as luxuries.

The “movements of the body” in yoga connect us to the “moments in the mind” where we can “nourish our soul”.

My yoga practice allows me to achieve serenity and peace, what many people would describe as a “special moment”.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller