June – Be Here Now
“ ‘Be here now’ is the fundamental discipline of all traditions
and, of course, it is the most difficult of all.” – Elaine Prevallet, SL
I read this quote from Prevallet’s book A Wisdom for Life as I was beginning to think about this June reflection, and even though it is familiar and quoted in an older book, it produced a new awareness in me about the why of these monthly essays. Each unique month offers many anchors that keep me in the here and now.
One anchor is the weather. Recently I heard someone say, “I just don’t like weather!” We laughed, but in my heart I felt sad for the speaker. How easily June weather holds me in the now - warmth on my skin, breeze in my hair, an array of flowery scents coming into my nostrils, rain touching my body, thunder in my ears, luminous clouds and blue sky delighting my eyes. At any moment of every day there is weather calling me to pay attention and be here now. All I have to do is be attentive, and I am drawn into the profound Mystery underneath all that happens in the atmosphere.
I might also simply observe activity around me, and in June it is likely that I will see birds feeding their young. As I watch this process I am reminded of an amazing fact I have held in my memory: a single pair of breeding chickadees must find 6,000 – 9,000 caterpillars to rear one clutch of young. Here is an example of total focus. Every day, morning until evening, for about ten days, these parents are in the present moment. What an example of being here now, doing what they do every June. I develop the discipline of attentiveness as I watch, amazed, and I am drawn into the profound Mystery underneath all that nourishes life.
If I am lucky, I might have the opportunity to develop a relationship with one of June’s special beings like the snail pictured here. One morning I spotted this tiny, delicate being on the cairn in the birdbath outside the back door. I watched frequently throughout the day as Snail explored the rocks with exquisite slowness. By evening Snail had moved under a rock, drawn into her silent home-shell for the night, and in the morning she was on the lowest rock getting a drink! I was deeply moved to have such a visitor so nearby, one I had known before only as an empty shell. As I watched, I realized that during the day my mind had been where my body was, lured by the stunning life of this being that had become a “thou”, and I was drawn into the profound Mystery within all beings.
A favorite night-anchor is our Moon in her mesmerizing phases – day after day, month after month, year in and year out. Moon accompanies me, there to be noticed and appreciated, teaching me to be with whatever is happening, to accept the reality of the present moment as it waxes and wanes. Be here now, Moon shines out, and I am drawn into the profound Mystery underneath all that beams.
Further in her book, Prevallet reminds us that we need spiritual disciplines long-term, that none yields quick results. How blessed we are as Earthlings to have a spiritual discipline embedded in every moment of our daily lives, however long these lives may be. Even though this might be the most difficult of all practices, what excites me is that it is also the most accessible. No guru needed, no books or equipment, no time constraints, just absolute availability if we wake from our sleep and be here now.
Where are you right now, in this present moment?