Our mental chatter tends to define most of us. That busy-ness of forward and backward, of reminiscence and contemplating innumerable futures, nicely defines a mind that is strongly identifying with its own noise. It is in this identifying with our internal chatter that we learn to identify self as separate from all other things. Long-time meditators will know that there truly is no separation. For that matter, physicists, too, also know that there is no separation of us (matter — and a bit more) from the fabric of the universe itself.
A number of articles here speak of cultivating the observer as a means of being able to ensure we respond appropriately to a situation. Cultivating the observer, however, is actually far more than that. When we learn to see ourselves responding to stimulus in real time, we are learning to actually BE in the moment. We’re learning to see our triggers for what they are. We’re also learning to experience the present moment as fully as we possibly can.
Learning to Be in the moment brings us closest to our essential Self. We can touch the face of who we really are in the stillness of a breath. In the act of learning to reach in and see ourselves fully open and exposed, we can find — quite literally — enlightenment. Eckhart Tolle calls this Watching the Thinker. I had to laugh when I first started reading his book, The Power of Now, only to find that we were pretty much describing the same thing in almost the same words. Cultivating the Observer versus Watching the Thinker. You decide which one you like and run with it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not putting myself on a par with Tolle. He pretty much defines enlightenment, whereas I only manage to catch occasional glimpses in what I’ve come to call a chisai satori (little awakening). I’ve learned that the more I meditate, the more satori I experience. The bottom line is that as you learn to be more in the moment, the more you get to experience the perfection of Being. Enlightenment really could be described as always being in the moment and not succumbing to mental chatter.
As a meditator, I strive to touch the cheek of that moment as often as I can. In the stillness of a perfect breath, I can sometimes find it. With it comes a quiet joy that can hardly be described. I also find it on a long walk from time to time, when the pace, place, temperature, wind and my thoughts (or lack thereof) create a wonderful synergy wherein I am fully engaged in simply experiencing all the things I’m feeling rather than mulling over all of the things that my monkey mind is thinking.
I think that our modern lifestyle tends to conspire against being in the moment. Being. Really Being. If you want to calm your monkey mind, try meditating. The more you do so, the more you’ll have a chance to find that quiet place inside wherein answers simply come forth. In that place, you’ll find your answers. You’ll find your quietness.
You’ll find your Self.