I would like to expand a little on the following quote from Osho that I put in our Oct 24 Newsletter. If you have already read the quote, you are welcome to skip to the second paragraph.
“Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. Watch the ocean, the tremendous wildness of it–and suddenly you forget your split, your schizophrenia; you relax. Or, moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to. You fall together. Or, listening to beautiful music, you fall together. Whenever, in whatsoever situation, you become one, a peace, a happiness, a bliss, surrounds you, arises in you. You feel fulfilled. There is no need to wait for these moments–these moments can become your natural life. These extraordinary moments can become ordinary moments – that is the whole effort of Zen. You can live an extraordinary life in a very ordinary life: cutting wood, chopping wood, carrying water from the well, you can be tremendously at ease with yourself. Cleaning the floor, cooking food, washing the clothes, you can be perfectly at ease–because the whole question is of you doing your action totally, enjoying, delighting in it.”
Many people, myself included, have misconstrued “extraordinary moments” to mean moments that are incredibly exciting or pleasurable. Sometimes they are, but more often they are not. It is neither excitement nor pleasure that make a moment extra ordinary, that shakes it loose like a droplet, from the river of time. What makes a moment extraordinary is the the quantity of attention we pay it and the quality of presence thus evoked.
Attention is something we pay (re: pay attention), and the coin we pay with is ourselves. The more of myself I give, the more space exists within me to receive, without story, without preconception, whatever is before me. The more of myself I pay, the more present I become. Simply being present transcends pleasure and excitement, and is the alchemy that transforms the mundane into the sacred, the momentary into the miraculous.
In one of his poems, Hafiz calls life a “blessed calamity.” And so life is- a mixture of the wonderful and awful, grief and joy, pain and pleasure. There is no practice, no religion, no meditation, no prayer, no god by which we can escape the joys and travails of life. But by approaching life, as Osho describes above, we can learn how to be with what is. We can learn to flow more easily from one state of being to another. We can learn how to stop resisting pain and discomfort and thereby reduce or eliminate suffering.
Truly, there are no moments that are not extraordinary. It is only the way we relate to them, to whatever is before us, that fools us into thinking otherwise. I invite us all to find our own unique ways to come into presence- and return to it, whenever we notice, we have drifted away.
Love & Blessings