Heartwings Love Notes          



Heartwings Love Notes 1020 - The Zen of Then

Heartwings says, "The present moment is the only one we have."

One of my familiar themes in this column is the importance of focusing attention on the present moment. This is a very common theme in Buddhism, though I am not a Buddhist, and of Zen Buddhism in particular. However, it is also found in many other places as well, because it is vital to living a safe, effective daily life. For instance, if I am not mindful of my actions it is easy for me to trip and tumble, as I did several years ago. This resulted in a painful fall and a wound to my knee that took quite a while before it healed.

This was a lesson in the importance of mindfulness. Have you ever cut your fingers instead of your vegetables? Did you thoughtlessly touch something very hot without a potholder? These and other situations are common to us all. The woman on her cell phone who crashed into my car a few years ago was definitely not focused on the present moment, focused on driving, or looking where she was going. How many accidents happen that way?

You don't need to be a Buddhist to practice an attitude reflective of Zen. It can be vital in helping us be in the present moment. However, it is also particularly helpful in dealing with the past. While the present moment is an important place to focus our attention, letting go of the past is helpful in making us focus better on the present. If my mind is full of "if onlys," or "what ifs" I can't keep myself in the present. One friend of mine calls it "putting peace to" whatever situation or difficulty one is struggling with.

It can be difficult to put peace to or to let go of the past when it has been hurtful or involved difficulties we feel we ought to have been able to overcome. The ego wants us to feel we can survive and thrive, deal well with whatever life hands us, or beat our way through all obstacles. However, the ego must take a back seat to reality. Sometimes there are lessons to be learned from failure or inability. It is vital not to take such things as personal except insofar as they might help us to learn something.

Whatever happened and whoever it happened to cannot be changed. We can change our attitude toward it and forgive ourselves and/or the others involved. That ought to help us get over the impact, however the final step is simply to let go. Letting go and letting God is a Christian concept, and simply letting go and feeling a sense of closure would be more of a Zen attitude, yet both bring us to the same stopping place. The Zen of then is a place of peace, of self-acceptance, and of a way to be ready for whatever happens next.

May you find your way to peace with your present moment.

Got any easy recipes to share? Food stories to tell? I so appreciate your comments and thoughts. Please write to me at tashahal@aol.com, and for more love notes, check out www.heartwingsandfriends.com. Thanks!

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Blessings and Best Regards,
Tasha Halpert

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