On a recent cool, crisp, sunny day here in Austin, I excitedly anticipated making time in my day to sit out in my backyard. I planned to sit underneath the towering trees and meditate. It would be the first backyard meditation here at my new home and that made it especially delicious. I took my seat under the trees in the early afternoon which the perfect part of the day. Calls had been made, computer work done, my dogs were gone for the afternoon and the barking dog across the street was not barking. A gentle breeze caressed my face as I sat down to open to a great spritiual connection. What could be better?
And it was. I was peaceful and relaxed. For about ninety seconds. And then, my ego voices, always looking to capitalize on my open mind, attacked.
My mind started thinking and this is what it thought – “This is certainly nice but I think if I had a chair with a bigger cushion it would be more comfortable. Or, maybe I should put a lounge chair out here. No, the lounge chair I have is cheap and not very comfortable. And would I put two lounge chairs here? I don’t want to spend the money for a really nice lounger. And besides, I shouldn’t be laying down when I’m meditating. Maybe if I put more flower pots around the chair it would feel better. What would really be great is to buy a hammock – the way the last owners had it. I wonder where I’d get a hammock. I wonder how you hang it between the trees? Does it harm the trees? How much do they cost? Would I sit in a hammock? When? That could be a good secondary place to meditate, or just look at the clouds, the clouds probably look really great from that vantage point. I bet I could see the clouds better from over there then from here….”
And then I came back – to the present moment.
The last thing the ego wants for you is to be calm and present. It feeds on judgment, fear, and anxiety. My thoughts said this could be better and let’s figure out how to change it. The ego feeds on not being present in this moment. It robbed me of a few minutes of the glorious experience of sitting outside and being okay with what is. That is its job. I observed this and then scolded myself –which admittedly is simply using the ego again.
Then I got back to my “right-mind” and accepted all of what had happened and reconnected with the moment. I accepted the chair, the clouds, and what I was doing, exactly as it was. That connected me with the wonderful experience I had anticipated. I know that as long as I observe and not identify with ego I will become freer and freer of allowing it to rob me of the present moment. And the present moment is all I’ve got. Life is made up of present moments and living a joyful life is living in the present moments offered to me.