Friday, 15 March 2013

Stop. Look. Listen.

I’ve been reminded once again, over the past few days, just how powerful a tool the practice of present awareness is, and how much strength can be drawn from anchoring ourselves in the moment.

Facing up to the impending loss of a dearly loved parent is no trivial life event – it’s up there with the very worst - yet, somehow, I’m doing what I would have considered impossible just a few years ago… I’m coping with it, and I’m coping well.

Sure, there are a few jitters and my mind does wander, but I’m able to check that mental process, draw myself out of thought and back into the present, and there really is no emotional pain in the present moment, even amidst such seemingly harrowing circumstances.

Unconsciously succumbing to the lure of the egoic mind would have me fall into a pit of agony that would be so difficult to scramble out of… if I made it out at all. If I wanted to make it out at all.

Staying present allows me to reject this pain and see it for what it is: useless.

If I were to bang my fists, stamp my feet, pull my hair out (okay, maybe that’s not an option), wail until my eyes bled or cut my wrists, just what good would it do anyone?

It’s not going to change the fact that my Mum is close to death.

It’s not going to be a comfort to my siblings.

It’s not going to help me work towards tackling the challenges I’ll have to face in the weeks and months ahead.

I’m certainly not going to beat myself up if I lapse into a trance of sadness or if I shed tears (which, of course, I do from time to time), but allowing the tortuous ego to overwhelm my being is not an option… not any more.

The Awakening I experienced in February 2010 has, at the very least, prevented me from the most excruciating suffering of this time I’m going through… and it may well have saved my life.

Instead of collapsing into an irreversible and crushing depression, as I would have predicted to happen if you’d asked me in January 2010 about the prospect of losing my Mum, I’m becoming stronger.

My comfort zone is being ripped down and rather than taking the drastic step of forcing myself into a purchase of agricultural property, I’m already laying the foundations of something new which will harbour and sustain me for years to come.

This is the power of present awareness – an energy of positive creativity, rather than destructive negativity, that you too have access to.

It is not a superpower possessed by the few or some secret skill taught to a select sect of the deserving, nor is it the ultimate prize gained only after decades in pursuit of spiritual understanding; it’s a gift to all people, ready and waiting for them to discover it inside themselves.

Imagine a life free from guilt and regret?

Not in a callous way, where you stomp through all your born days with complete disregard for the feelings of others, but in the sense of having the insight to know that what’s done is done and can’t be changed, no matter how much you hurt yourself wishing it could.

A life without fear? Being able to recognise and let go of the thoughts in your head that cripple and cloud your true consciousness, blighting your happiness and dragging you outside your inherent state of peace, but which do you and everyone else absolutely no good at all?

The truth is that you can have that, right now, yet there are still countless millions, even billions of people across this planet who just can’t see it, and that’s why, when you watch the news, there’s so much chaos and suffering in the world.

We are a microcosm of the macrocosm.

As within, so without.

But beneath the cacophonic clatter of egoic thought in our own minds, and behind the bluster and blare of global drama, there’s the peace of true, tranquil consciousness that has no interest in or use for prolonging strife and hardship.

I’m fortunate to know that peace, within, which will allow me to grow when I would otherwise have been stagnating in deep suffering, but I’m not unique in being able to harness the energy of this awareness.

I’m not special.

Or perhaps I am… but so, then, is everyone else.

And for the love of God, Allah, Jehovah, the Universe, the Great Spaghetti Monster or Darwin’s Monkeys, if your parents are alive and you haven’t spoken to them in a while, give them a call and tell them you love them.


  1. SO amazed by you and how you are coping, but I knew you would get the present. Sending big hugs, sweetheart.

  2. Thanks Les. I'm facing the possibility of my dad not surviving his next surgery, so your recent blogs are very poignant for me. I'm glad you've chosen to honour your mother by living the best life you can. My dad is on the other side of the world, so I've phoned and sent gifts and cards and am in touch almost daily with my mom. It's what I can do at the moment, and it has to be enough. If all goes well, I will see my dad in May.

  3. I stumbled upon your blog through a friend who follows you on Twitter and I must say, I can relate to so much of what you're saying. Stay strong. Best regards.

  4. ...deepest joy and gratitude to you Les. May abundant blessings continue to flow eternally for you and yours <3

  5. I am always blessed and moved by your blogs, Les. This one in particular caught my attention since my parents are in their 80's & probably don't have much longer. They move in and out of panic. Somebody has to be strong. Jesus is my anchor. Thanks Les, for sharing your heart.

  6. It's often in times of sorrow that we discover just how strong we are. Obviously, you have come a long way and your awakening, as well as the path that it sent you on, has thoroughly prepared you. Facing the death of a loved one leaves us in a vulnerable state and the ability to find peace within ourselves is something that many people lack. So, though you're not unique in harnessing that energy which enables you to grow - certainly there are many who haven't (and will never) reach that level of self awareness. You are special and I thank you for reaching out and letting others know that they are special as well. May you continue to live and thrive in the present.

  7. I read this just today and I have been going through some stuff myself. Your post made me realize how important it is to live in the moment. My issues are of course trivial compared to yours but needs strength anyway. Thanks for this post, I'm gonna get back to living in the present. Thanks love and you'll make it through. Hugsss.

  8. "Present moment, wonderful moment." --Thich Nhat Hanh. No better place to live than in the present is there Les; freed from the past, not worrying about the future, allowing our grief to do its work while we smile at it in blessing. Thank you for blessing me with your words, Les.

  9. Wallowing in self-pity is Oneness wallowing in self-pity. Grief is so hard and completely dismantles your world but little by little there are the glimpses of something else, something bigger and outside our experience. I still grieve for my brother almost 3 years on; some days lost in the drama of my little life, missing his presence and all the lovely conversations we may have shared, but at other times realising that everything around you is showing you what you really are - a mirror to your true self. Everything is connected - we are all one and nothing is lost.

  10. The loss of a loved one in bodily form is a life changing experience. We all have two choices. 1. We go forward in life allowing this experience to cloud our lives and use it excuse to prevent us from progressing or 2. We come to terms with the experience life threw at us and make it a point of dermination to push ourselves out of respect and love for those we have lost.