Years ago, I undertook a solitary three month retreat. In silence and bringing attention to within, these are some things I learnt:
1. Constant grasping to formations of ideas such as truth, peace, retreat, progress. Listen carefully when you hear yourself or others saying words such as "growing" and "evolving". Where are you at that moment?
2. Fear of letting things be the way they are.
3. Thinking something has to be going on for something to be happening.
4. Idle speculation is charming. How does intellectual masturbation charm you?
5. We are all the frog in the well imprisoned by our limited vision of reality. From this we assert our "truth" and refuse to listen to others.
6. In an open room, one can see many things distinctly. In a crowded room, one can't see anything. Same with the mind.
7. Solitude - thank you for being my friend.
8. It's a big relief to see that the sky changes.
9. Every action has an intention. One has the freedom to know a thought for a thought without acting upon it.
10. To be present, one must drop the idea of what being present is or is not.
By the time we are able to tell what happens in a moment, the moment has been replaced by another. So the closest we can come to the present once we verbalize is it by making it past. It's like film. As long as the projector is running, it seems like one seamless piece. Take a moment to slow down and stop it, and we are surprised to discover each still picture joined one after the other. So is a moment in our reality of ourselves.
There are numerous books for more than thousands of years around this topic and even a longer amount of time that humankind has pondered on this. After all, we have all its aftermath: religion, science, psychology, art.
What is a moment....right now...a thud heard, a motion in the distance, coolness felt. Next moment, thud is a car door slamming, motion is a twig dangling across the horizon, coolness is the afternoon breeze against my arm. Notice the huge gap between receiving sensory perception and giving language to differentiate it further into a communicable culture, even if it's within ourselves alone. Wait, I have not even added any emotional content or color to the previous moment. Let's do it. Next moment: thud brings excitement of lover arriving, motion brings nostalgia of a childhood swing tied to a tree, coolness brings irritation that I must get a sweater. All these in less than a minute.
Moment after moment after moment.
What does it take to glimpse a moment, unadulterated?
Awareness, sharpened as you would a knife that could cut easily between the tendons of raw chicken.
Awareness to the movement of perception. Awareness to the movement of differentiation. Awareness to the movement of labeling. Awareness to the movement of preferring. Awareness to the movement of thinking.
My name is Kathrina Peterson and I invite you to participate in this forum around awareness and movement. I have been a Buddhist meditator for over 20 years and have been exploring in depth what it means to develop as a human being: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is my passion, both on a personal and a professional level. I welcome you to share thoughts around what it means to be awake.