What is so disturbing about being fully present?
To be present is to accept yourself fully: your own way of being; your own way of doing: this very particularity and peculiarity in a profound and all-embracing way: this life, this self, this body, this moment: to be God having this experience as this infinitesimally small scrap in the multi-dimensional universe. When I am present, when I reside fully in this body, leaning neither forward into the future nor backward into the past, I am content and I am present to You: there is nothing more I want. This is who You made me to be.
Be that as it may, I also become present to a dissatisfaction with myself and with my life. I do not want to be fully present to what I do not fully like about myself or my experience, when I don’t like being boring old ordinary me with this boring old ordinary life, when I want something more exciting, more special.
To be present is to know that with You, enough has been given. But the darnel of dissatisfaction grips tight.
We are bewitched by fantasies of the possible (and impossible) that seduce our desire. Encompassed behind and before by adverts, store-fronts, films, inspirational videos, self-improvement books and websites, more books and CDs than you can shake a stick at, (so-called) consumer (so-called) choice: a tyranny of fantasies of the possible. “Look at the life they are leading,” I say, “the life I might lead! Save me from myself.” All the while, enchanted by fantasies of the possible, we are bleeding the Earth dry.
To be present has come to be a profound asceticism: detachment – dismantling the addiction to fantasies of the possible – so that you can live this one possible.
To be ascetic is not to abrogate responsibility, to duck out of choice, or resist change. No: it is to embrace the responsibility and choices only you can make. It is to surrender to the change only you are offered.
Asceticism is the liminality within which God can weave the slow work of transforming you into God’s self.
Live with yourself. Accept this body as it is. This is more visceral than loose talk about body image. Accept the feeling of yourself, the physicality of the sensation of being you.
When was the last time you did not, at some level, question who you are? Or, to put that positively, when was the last time you simply accepted yourself as if your being had never been questioned?
Be yourself – pare away all that is not you, leaving some elbow-room for God – or try to be (to continue to be) who you are not.