Perhaps you’ve read or studied the teachings of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He addresses how to be present in each and every moment–a path towards spiritual enlightenment. I, for one, have noticed how difficult it is to be fully present. And, I have also found that when I’m in a creative space, whether it’s cooking, writing, poetry (reading or writing it) and painting, I am immersed and therefore fully present. When I’m fully present, there is no sense of time.
I offer an awareness practice to you. I call this one PRESENCE OR DIVISION.
Think about one repetitive task that you did this week. Write it down. Describe the task in detail. (Was it doing the laundry?) Were you able to be present with it? Were there the distractions of a busy family as you performed the task? Were you able to have a meditative moment? Was there a quieting within as you performed this task or was there a feeling of fragmentation? No judgment, only noticing and writing about what you noticed. Take whatever amount of time you need to write about this. Ask yourself, “Did I feel presence or division of attention while doing this task?” Notice and write about the task and how present or distracted that you were.
Five minutes of presence with a task goes a long way towards calming the mind, focusing one’s attention, refreshing the spirit so that inspiration can enter.
For me, the repetitive task was skimming the thyme leaves off the stems to dry them for later use in winter soups and stews…there was no one else here. There was neither television nor other background noise. The house was completely quiet. I scraped the leaves off the stem between my thumb and forefinger, repetitively for over half an hour. I appreciated the fragrance of thyme. I contemplated the flavor that this spice lends to food. I loved the idea that I had harvested this herb from my own garden plot (and that I had beat the predicted frost). And then, I was just quiet and present with this pleasant and calming task. It is my experience that sometimes, in moments like this, I am recharging, integrating and tapping into wisdom.