When we learn meditation or a new skill to enhance our life in some way, the end result is to incorporate it into our life, to bring it with us in each present moment. What we learn from sitting on the meditation cushion is not to shut out our thoughts, but to observe them. As Eckhart Tolle would say, “witness the thinker”. It is only in the quietness that we have a real opportunity to do so.
When we turn our attention away from external distractions and come into being, to our felt presence, we are offered a world of insight that cannot be found elsewhere.
What happens on the cushion is a representation of what is happening in our daily lives. Now we have a chance to see, feel, hear and witness it. Now we can be the observer, to stay present in our felt sense and notice where the mind is going. What does it say, how quickly does it move from one thought to the next, is it mostly ruminating over the past or anticipating something in the future? How is the body responding to each thought, does the heart rate slightly increase, does tension arise anywhere, what are the urges, where does the mind try to take you?
Come back in to the felt sense of your being, the felt sense in your body. Right in to this moment, in your full present awareness. There’s nowhere else to be. Right here in this moment all is calm. In this moment there is no time, no past or future. There is only now. In this present moment, there is no responsibility, no bills, no illness or disease. Right here, right now is all there is. Just presence, just being, just the feeling of you in your body in this moment.
And you bring your presence in to each moment, from your cushion in to your day. Whenever you can, become aware of your being, bring yourself back in to your body and away from habitual thinking. Whenever you are in habitual thinking, you are not in your felt presence. Unconscious thinking draws you away from yourself. Continue to come back through your body to be in each present moment. This is how we take the cushion with us, and incorporate meditation or new skills into our daily lives. We practice them quietly in a controlled environment, then as often as possible throughout the day, we bring them with us, applying the insight and skill in this moment. This is the practice.
Whether you’re meditating, using guided imagery, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, cognitive behaviour therapy or dialectical behaviour therapy, you can apply this process. Be gentle, it’s not a race. There is nowhere to be except right here in your felt sense in this present moment.