When you reflect on your life, you may find that there are certain recurring themes…. You may identify situations that feel like déjà vu – “Haven’t I done this before?”. You may notice yourself being drawn to certain types of people, but not others. You may see yourself replaying similar relationship dynamics, having the same conversations and internal dialogues, running the same thoughts, feeding the same desires, and nursing the same aches and pains. You may engage your daily routines in a nearly robotic manner: “Time to make the donuts….”
Repetitive experiences seem so commonplace that we may not even question them. Is it possible to feel new and fresh in every moment, naturally and spontaneously expressing creativity and inspiration?
Not only is it possible to feel like every moment is unique, such a way of relating to life is our birthright. We have the capacity to engage life with innocence that does not presuppose specific intentions or outcomes and remains open to all possibilities.
Remember the times when you have received a present and you didn’t know what was inside the wrapping? Remember how it felt to open it and feel like it was exactly what you wanted? Imagine living every moment as if it were a present – the present – a happy surprise and an opportunity to feel completely and utterly loved….What would a lifetime of these moments be like for you?
Our lives are filled with natural rhythms. We go to sleep to rest, and we awaken to participate in life. We eat to nourish our bodies. We wash the dishes and clean our homes. We pack our lunches, and we trek to work or to school. We return home and have dinner. How we choose to engage these rhythms makes all the difference in how we experience life. It is possible to sleepwalk through such moments and continuously retrace our steps. It is also possible to discover each moment as if it had never happened before. Which feels more alive? While it may be tempting to see life’s rhythms as an invitation for repetition, it is not the only way to engage.
In the awakened state, there are no repetitive thoughts, and no dwelling on the past or the future. Instead, attention is firmly rooted in the present and life feels like a continuous unfolding. You are surfing a wave that is literally arising out of every moment, and your soul is filled with joyful laughter throughout this adventure of discovery. There is no need to assume, worry, fear, anticipate, brace yourself for impact, or protect yourself. Contrary to common belief, such vulnerability and openness is pure strength, and not naive weakness.
After years of being hurt by life situations and people, it may seem logical to pad ourselves with impenetrable protective layers: “Because I know I can feel hurt, I can prevent this feeling!” Makes sense, right? Well, being awake does not mean being naive or setting yourself up to be hurt. Rather, engaging each moment with full presence invokes pure intuitive intelligence, which is flexible in its response to whatever may arise. This intelligence sees situations and intentions clearly, and meets whatever comes with what is needed. There is literally nothing between your awareness and the moment because you are both the awareness and the moment. Ultimately, you feel utterly safe and loved – because you know that you are love.
Engaging life as innocent exploration requires surrender of all that we think we know and being comfortable with not having to know. This is a leap that requires great courage and diligent practice of letting go during every seemingly mundane task. This way of living requires trust that repetition does not necessarily assure safety. Practicing entering the flow or the zone through every action frees us to explore rather than relive.
Of course, the Ego stands ready to criticize every time we become forgetful. However, we can simply acknowledge this tendency and move back to consciousness as quickly as possible. Despite the knee-jerk reaction to engage in self-negation, we can surrender even that to the moment.
Waking up is a process that asks us, first and foremost, to love who we are. By cultivating love and care for ourselves, we gradually experience that love is the definition of being and feeling safe. Love cannot be harmed! By cultivating love and care for ourselves, we also cultivate love and care for all life. We happily trade in the need for perfection for the freedom to simply be. Ultimately, attention becomes the moment and infinite possibility is all there is.