Friday, September 24, 2010

“Ask not what this moment can do for you, but what you can do for this moment.”

It’s quite common for people who are seeking, to be constantly looking for a better moment. “I want a moment better than this one. So I’m willing to wait for the future for it to come. I know it’s not this moment.” So we’re all waiting for a better moment. But this is the moment. It’s always THIS moment that needs to be met. It needs to be met with your love, with your tenderness, with your caring, with your life.  We say, “Well we’re reserving that for a better moment.” And we kind of hold back a little bit. “This moment isn’t worthy of that.” I was thinking, “What if John F. Kennedy was a spiritual teacher, what would he say?” He’d say, “Ask not what this moment can do for you, but what you can do for this moment.” That’s a John F. Kennedy spiritual teacher. We think it’s about the content of the moment. We think the moment’s got to have the right content.  It has nothing to do with the content. It’s what you bring to it. It’s what YOU bring!  Jackie was sharing the other night that she went up the same driveway, had to lug stuff, but some days she brought a love for the moment and some days she didn’t and she could tell the difference. It was the same moment in terms of content but a different moment in what was brought to it. So we suffer a great deal comparing moments, comparing this moment with the other moment that was better. Particularly we get into complaining about the content of the moment. We complain these people this moment didn’t behave properly. There wasn’t enough joy in this moment. “I don’t feel the way I want in this moment. This isn’t the enlightened moment that I wanted.” What if you realized that it’s not about the content? It’s always this moment. It needs all your caring, all your tenderness and all your love.  Just imagine if your spiritual teacher was here and said, “I don’t think I like the people that came to this retreat very much. I had better ones last retreat. I’ve started making all kinds of judgments about the people on the retreat.” I know that’s everybody’s fear. But that’s not what Satsang is. Satsang is that this is the moment. It’s the only moment. It’s always the best moment. This is the best group. Everyone is the best one. When you go to Adya’s Satsangs, the leader often says, “This has been such a great group. This is the best group.” This is the feeling. It’s a feeling of great respect. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your struggles are. It doesn’t matter. There’s a tremendous respect that you came here. There’s a tremendous respect that you’re willing to take this time to look into what’s true. There is a holding of all with love. For me there’s a gratitude that really anybody came at all, because it’s just me rattling on. And the rattling on that I do is how I remember. It’s how I keep my freshness for the truth. So teachers need Satsang too. And they need some people willing to come. I offered a Satsang a number of weeks ago and only one person came and that’s ok for Satsang. On tape it sounds like any other one. So it’s always the willingness to bring your very best to no matter what it looks like, no matter what the people look like, or the contents, or the weather, or the stuff. Awakening is about letting go of all the comparing all the judging. I gave a talk quite some time ago that awakening is the end of judgment. It’s the end of condemnation and judging. You can have judgment and some people would rather keep their judging mind and their criticizing mind and their complaining mind (complaining is a form of judging) because it keeps the “me” alive. It keeps the “ the egoic me” alive. The illusion is as long as I have something to complain about, as long as I can compare or contrast myself to someone else and I come out slightly ahead, then I’m getting some benefit out of this. So awakening is you have to give it all up. You have to shed that which has become very familiar friend. This complaining mind is a very familiar friend. You have to say, “Complaining mind, you’ve been a faithful companion for a long time. I have to say good by now.” With judging mind you say, “I’m not going to put myself above somebody else. I’m not going to rank people and rank myself in some hierarchy. Such nonsense! “Judging mind, you’ve been with me all my life and you’ve been very, very good at what you do. I’m afraid I have to say good-bye because there’s something that I’ve seen that’s better. Comparing mind, comparing this moment with the other moment. I know that comparing has seemed to be lot of fun and I seem to get some vicarious thrill out of remembering something that was better than this, but I’ve figured it out and you’re not really of any value. You’re making me miserable. So I have to say good-bye to you too. So imagine someone who’s been convinced all their life is really a bad never ending winter. They have a heavy winter coat and big Canuck hat with its big flaps and big mittens and boots and they’re trudging around. They notice—“Gosh some other people are wearing shorts and tee shirts. But it’s so darn cold. I don’t see how they do it.” They say to you, “Don’t you know it’s spring” “Oh no! It’s winter and it’s very, very cold. I need my heavy clothing: the clothing of complaint, the clothing of judging, the clothing of comparing, wanting it to be better and all the rest.” What if you were willing to awaken from this hypnosis that this is somehow valuable to you? Like you need this? Like this defines you? You define yourself by who you’re better than. That’s how egoic identity stays alive: “I’m better than this person; this can define me. I’ve known better moments; this defines me.” So at some point one gives up and chucks all the clothes and there you are in a bathing suit and tee shirt ready to meet the moment. Then you find, “Hey! It’s not cold after all! It’s sunny. It’s spring. I didn’t need all the clothing that I thought I needed. I feel kind of naked because I’m used to wearing lots and lots of clothes. I feel more vulnerable, but I can hug a tree and feel it. I couldn’t with all that clothing on. I’m not wearing shoes so I can feel the grass under my feet. I couldn’t feel it with my heavy boots. So at one point you see it’s not about the right moment. I don’t need the moment to be the right one for me. I need to be right for the moment. I am that which colors it. If I bring complaints, the moment will start looking pretty ugly fast. If I bring love, even to what appears as really bad circumstances, there’s sweetness in it. There’s a sweetness in the courage to bring love to meet difficult moments. How beautiful this courage to bring heart to that which seems to have no heart. Yet although I am afraid at first, I bring my heart anyway because that’s the only thing I know how to do. My response to the moment is not creating me anymore. In the complaining, judging, comparing, the wanting, the wanting the better moment, I was creating a “me” that was unreal. When I bring all my heart to the moment, I discover the peace of
 I amness. This is a poem that I wrote as a student. It’s on my website. It’s about meeting the moment and how we can meet the moment and about what happens to the content as one keeps meeting the moment. It’s called

 The Great Embrace.  

”The Great Embrace The State of Grace
touches each moment with a tender kiss
The me that thought it was
and found it was not
disappears like the morning mist
it was loved but it won’t be missed
As new me’s arise…it matters not to which body they think they belong.
There are fearful me’s, lonely me’s, angry me’s, ambitious me’s, spiritual me’s, hopeful of enlightenment me’s
they are but dreams, that will disappear like the morning mist
they are loved and kissed so tenderly
but when they’re gone, they won’t be missed
Awakening is the knowing
I am the Great Embrace
I am the State of Grace
and choosing to live fully
that which only knows one thing—
to love and touch each moment with a tender kiss

To touch each moment with a tender kiss, whatever it is, even if the moment doesn’t seem pleasant. Love what you got. Even if the moment doesn’t seem to meet the expectation of mind, remember this is the Moment, because this is the moment, I give it my heart. It’s what I do. When you know yourself, it’s the only thing you know how to do. You lose the ability to do the other stuff. The classical thinking is I’m waiting for the super moment to come to me. Enlightenment is going to be about the moment that comes to me--not this moment, obviously. But some moment is going to come to me in the future. This will be the moment that I will be graced. So it’s a total turn around.

Become the grace that you are, and live from that. You can be the grace to this moment, and the moment will appear transformed. You have the power with your love uncover what looks like a pretty ordinary, not very exciting moment, maybe even an unpleasant moment and see it revealed as The Sacred Moment.  ~ Norman