8/25/95 FIRST JOURNAL ENTRY ON MINDFULNESS, BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT – WITHOUT THOUGHT
This was an unexpected find. I was looking back through some .DOC files and there were some with my meditation journal notes that I haven’t posted here… Then I noticed – wow, that one says Aug-25-95. That’s an old one. I opened it up and relived the experience I’ll post below. Amazing experience that I remember to this day… just being in the pool at my apartment complex in Tampa, Florida. I had read some eastern philosophy and religion books. I read some zen books – they were the most interesting because they were the most mysterious. What is a koan? When the mind can’t solve it – what happens? That was pretty interesting back then. Even now- I play with the idea that I’m setting up koans that have no answer when I ask myself – WHY am I meditating? I’ve not come up with a great reason yet. Or, WHAT is enlightenment? There’s no answer I guess until one experiences it. Maybe it’s phenomenological – specific to one’s self and everyone has a different experience. I’m more a believer in that sort of idea about it at the present moment.
Anyway – so here is my first experience…
25 August 95
Very First Experience with _______ (whatever it is…)
This evening after working out and hitting the volleyball at the racquetball court I went to the pool to relax. It was dark, about 8pm. I saw with a child’s eyes for the first time in years. Some call it (beginner’s mind). I looked at everything as if it were new. I saw things in a way that I haven’t seen since I was very young. We overlook so much when we are caught up in the web of the world’s works…
I saw the light reflecting in the pool’s bubbles. I saw what looked like the water on fire where the underwater light was across the pool. The fire seemed to leap up above the water and sink back down. It was because of the waves in the water–or was it?
This magical moment transitioned into something that affected all I saw.
I saw the beauty of the sky, the apt. complex and the many reflections of the lights in the water and on the waves. I saw the distribution of bubbles tending towards randomness. Words and concepts cannot describe this “BEING IN THE MOMENT”, for sure. I was there. I was just part of this scene, I was “one” with everything that I was experiencing! It’s the most incredible feeling! I had no thoughts outside of what was there. I experienced and did not try to control what was there. I was a part, not seeking mastery of my surroundings. I put labels on nothing–I just experienced.
[what it would be like to be in the moment 24 hours a day??]
The experience lasted about 5 minutes. When it was over – there were some residual effects. A calm mind remained. A clear mind without a lot of thought.
Before I wrote this I sat on the couch and thought about the experience.
My thoughts were that we as humans are, above all else searching for control over others and over our environment. All of our strivings are towards this end. In relationships we marry because we seek to control (limit) the person we marry. We seek to make ourselves more content and happy by limiting the acceptable behavior of the individual we seek to marry. We are more at ease and comfortable after this point because there is no longer the unknown of what the other person will do. Marriage constructs a set of boundaries that will not be crossed by either individual and is enforced not only by that other individual, but also by all of the peers/family/and other social groups interacting with those individuals. Social pressure to conform to a group of norms for the purpose of limiting behavior and increasing the sense of control over one’s destiny is the goal.
We are always searching for CONTROL! Control in all aspects of our lives is what is most basic to our strivings. In marriage, as above, in family (control so that we get what we want), in occupations (control of who we control, and who we are controlled by), religion (control of the afterlife, emotions, feelings, actions, etc.). In adolescence begins our quest for control over our lives–on a major scale. Though at the preschool level we too are looking for ways to control and manipulate our environment in order to please us and make things more bearable for us. We are always searching for ways to please “I” not others. We seek pleasure and avoid pain–but the motivation behind this is control. When we control the environment we minimize pain and can maximize pleasure.
Zen is completely the opposite. There is no “I”. There is only “being”, “doing”, “experiencing”. Being in the moment according to Zen is different from what Hamid (a friend I have that taught simple meditation practice after our practicum at the Florida mental health center) believed. In Zen the person is aware of all of the beauty surrounding him. What Hamid said was that we are lost in the moment and are “doing”. Maybe he simplified it for the clients and some of the staff who couldn’t begin to grip the concept?
That was it. I remember how surreal it was – as if I were wide awake and dreaming this magical moment that was untouched by thought, time, words, memory.
Nice to think about…
This was the moment that fueled my curiousity about meditation, mindfulness, and all of it… I was already interested enough to read some about it – but this gave me my first direct experience of something other than the reality I grew up with for the previous 30 years. This was the point where I realized there is something more to life – something invisible, that must be sought out…