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The Sun Of Awareness

Creative Commons License photo credit: treyevan

“The secret of meditation is to be conscious of each second of your existence and to keep the sun of awareness continually shining.”    – Thich Nhat Hanh

I came across this quote recently and liked it right away.  I felt comforted as I read it.

For many people, “living in the moment” is something they aspire to.  The idea of really being present in each moment of your life makes you feel as it somehow everything in your life would be better.  You would appreciate your life more, get more done and just generally feel happier.

I agree that in those times when I am very present in the moment I feel great.  I feel more alive, more full, more whole.  The things that usually occupy my attention seem small, as they should.

But generally, when I talk about being in the moment, I’m talking about the good moments, the pleasant moments, the enjoyable moments.  The moments I want to be in.  So what about the moments that are not so good?

Why keep the “sun of awareness” shining on moments that you would rather have pass?

I think what originally comforted me about this quote is not the idea that I should live in the moment for things where I want to be present, but that I should live in the moment for the times when I would prefer not to be present. Or rather that I should accept both equally.

Each “second of my existence” has it’s own mood, it’s own agenda, it’s own lessons.  Awareness is not picking and choosing between what you do want to experience and what you don’t want.  If you allow the sun of awareness to shine, then it covers all with it’s light.  Everything.

How do you keep the “Sun of Awareness” shining?

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  1. Do you think that we should be in the moment no matter what, including the negative moments? I practice meditation at times and although it feels great, I kinda feel like I am trying to make up for not being aware of the moments in my other times.

  2. Wow. I loved this post! One of the ways I really keep my sun of awareness shining is my writing Positively Present. Writing about being positive and being present actually helps me to be more present. Great post!

  3. This is what awareness in the more unpleasant moments is to me; “Real spirituality doesn’t provide a haven from pain, but rather a crucible in which the suffering is taken out of pain.” I got that quote is from @LillyAnn

  4. Joana Joana

    Trish’s quote reminds me of one I heard years ago: “Religion is for those people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.” Being present in the moment is, I find, very difficult, because my mind often wants to be or is somewhere else, even if that “somewhere else” is multiple things in the present. I agree that being present in unpleasant moments can be very difficult. It’s certainly true to me when I’m suffering an anxiety or panic attack or a bout of depression (for which I’m being successfully treated, but breakthrough episodes do happen). I’m learning to be more present during a migraine, which is a new revelation to me – I’m finding I can learn things from it in these days of good pain control. I can’t always abort the migraine attacks and one doesn’t feel great during a migraine or after, but I’m much more aware of subtleties, identifying triggers, prodrome symptoms, and even using the migraine experience to fuel creativity. It’s a small step forward.

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Isao – I think I do. Every moment of your life is yours, might as well be there for it!

    Hi Dani – Absolutely! I know how writing about what you experience allows you to examine it.

    Hi Trish – Thanks for the quote. I like that one.

    Hi Joana – I like what you mentioned here about learning from painful experiences. That’s surely one benefit of always being aware. The lesson stands out more.

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