<%-- Page Title--%> A Roman Column <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 108 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 6, 2003

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Dwelling in the Moment

Neeman A Sobhan

In the early morning hours when I carve out a little inward space of un-clocked time for myself, pacing the half awake terrace, listening to the birds and smelling the orange blossoms and pine trees, I wish I could awaken the entire household and share the peace and wholeness of the moment with each member (namely my prodigal sons who are presently at home on holiday and, of course, my husband dear for whom morning should really start at noon). But I know how precious sleep is to sleepers, just as the pure dawn air is to early risers like myself. I am in a minority in my family and know it's wiser to let sleeping dogs lie.
And anyway, by the time the day ripens and the household populace rolls off the bed like over-ripe fruit from treetops, the moment has passed, and I feel self-conscious and shy about telling them about my wonderful early morning adventures into spiritual bliss. I mean, at ten o'clock, over a crumbly breakfast table, the dewy memory of feeling at one with the universal spirit spells of stale croissants and reheated parathas. It's like recounting that oh-its-too-hilarious encounter, which fizzles out in the telling; you just had to be there. My morning flight into peace also loses its wings mid-speech; you had to be in that moment.

At some other point I do still try to communicate to my lazy loved ones that it does not have to be a morning moment; it doesn't have to be planned like a walk in the park or trip to the seaside, though that helps; and it can be as spontaneous as shutting the book, turning off the T.V. or walkman, leaving a crowded room and just finding a shady place on a balcony or a rooftop, a corner of the bus or a window-sill to place ones chin on. In fact, it could be any time of the day when you can just disengage yourself from the hectic world, disconnect your senses from too much information, too much entertainment, too much noise and too many people. Most important is for one to locate a peaceful lacuna, in a secluded or beautiful place in which to just sit quietly, switch off ones mind and to simply be. And the entire exercise need not take more than ten minutes. But preferably, it has to be an exclusive time, an exclusive appointment with oneself.
Then, you must let go of everything and feel centred in yourself. You have to be alive with your being, breathing in your own gentle presence, preferably within nature's subtle rhythms and quiet scheme. But within a natural landscape, you should be there as a participant not a spectator, you have to feel a part of the living trees, the breathing leaves, the whispering breeze, the smiling grass, the laughing buds, the chattering birds and the singing sky. But it's no great esoteric exercise into nirvana. I find that just being quiet for a while and looking at some beautiful thing in nature and consciously driving out all conscious thought brings us all to that moment of peace and oneness.
Dwelling in such a moment you become a part of everything before you and after you, you are the present and the past and the future, and you are whole, capable of peace for yourself and for everyone. The world enters you and you enter the world, and you become capable of creating what you desire and your desire starts to shape the world. There is unity, oneness and a tremendous sense of well-being.
Many people use prayer to reinforce such a moment, many attain creative flashes then, many just use it to refresh themselves during a busy day. I, for one, am hooked to my little private place within the heart of my day, specially the morning when I swing my legs from the happiest branch of my mind, just dwelling in the moment.
But the other day, while out shopping with my sons, I found myself, of all places at the Footlocker shoe store watching my men engage in the intricate cosmic debate of choosing the right trainers to help them step onto the right path and the long journey into foot-awareness if not self awareness. I sat detached on the bench, watching the world pass by, and inside me I drifted into my spiritual terrace waiting with its pine smells and geraniums and early morning breeze. Sure, my excursion into the depths of my being lasted exactly five minutes before the quests of my deeper soul were crossed by the questions of even deeper sole-comfort matters, yet I felt like a brand new person, like someone whose spiritual foot had been fitted with the airiest sport shoe.
Although, for me, dwelling in the moment is really best done in the mornings, indulging in it at any time (except while driving or operating heavy machinery) is highly recommended and can leave you with--- apart from a silly look on your face--- a refreshed and happy spirit to renter the worldly fray full of renewed vigour and spiritual…... Hey, wait a minute, try it after you have finished this article, not while reading it, okay? Excuse me……I'm still writing….. I haven't finished yet. Listen, this not the right moment to dwell inwards…..not yet….. excuse me….hullo?


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