Presencing

[09:47, Wednesday 15th October 2014: sitting at the open window overlooking a Stockwell street]

Late to bed again last night.

I just want to sit here and do nothing. There is quite a bit I should be getting on with, but I don’t want to do any of it. I am unhappy. I hear the sparrows chirping, the crow cawing, and they call to me. It is a beautiful, grey, autumn morning, with a very slight mist as I look into the distance. The leaves on some varieties of tree – acacia, birch, cherry, sycamore – are turning, and there are yellows, golds and berry reds amidst the green and grey. Despite the traffic, there’s a kind of stillness.

Behind everything there is a silence. I am unhappy because I am unable or unwilling to participate in this silence. It is a silence where everything waits.

No! It is I who wait. It is the silence of presence, the silence of matter, alive with energy. It is the silence of belonging, from which this noisy, busy, desperate life cuts me off.

I must feel my way into myself. I long for time to do and be nothing: just to be myself, whatever that is.

I hear a tapping and then I see a woman walking down the road, supported by her crutch, her daughter tagging along behind. I feel sorry for them. It can’t be easy. I want to extend warmth towards them. And I don’t want to.

Stop trying to work things out; just settle into myself!

Watching TV is just another, misguided, attempt to have time just for me.

I want to be like the trees, the slate tiles. I want fully to be. I want to know, deep in myself, that all life is here, now. It is just what […] was saying yesterday.

The practices of this body can lead me to myself. The trouble is, they also lead me to all discomfort. And they lead to a dismantling: nothing that I do in this world is of any lasting significance, save the simple acts of presencing: looking, hearing, breathing, touching… If there is more than this, it is the other side of this dismantling.

The point about spiritual practice is that it is not trying to get anywhere. It is precisely not about trying.


[15:18, Sunday 19th October 2014]

I keep saying the same thing over. I repeat it so one day I will get it.

It all comes back to living in the present moment; in other words: being in this body; which is to stop thinking and to start observing, to stop observing and to start feeling, to stop feeling and to relax into the feeling-body, to stop relaxing and to be this feeling-body;

which, especially today, is becoming aware of my back, from the back of the skull down to the coccyx, and relaxing into it, to be it;

which is to stop the forward momentum (my habitual impetus to get this job done so that I can move onto the next job: always moving onto ‘a receding future’);

this moment being the only moment in the whole space-time continuum: the whole space-time continuum focused in this here-now-moment;

(in other words: I am what God is doing in this little space at this little moment, just as you are what God is doing in your little space at this little moment;)

finally coming home to myself, being at home in this world, being the world in this hereness-and-nowness; so, I am not writing this to get it done so I can then do something else;

no, this is life in all its fullness;

sitting here, typing on this keyboard, feeling the delight of these fingers moving with semi-unconscious facility to make words on a screen, the solidity of this body, the subtle tingle of nerve-endings at the surface of the skin; the bird calling, the susurration of wisteria leaves, the traffic and a pedestrian passing, the sun at the window, the ticking of the clock, the air pressing itself into my lungs and being pressed out again, the edges of my nostrils cooling and warming.