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“Being in the Present” by Lama Michel Rinpoche

We need to live in the present moment. What do we have today of the past? Memory. Why do we have a bad memory? We are not attached to the past, OK? With love and compassion for ourselves we need to accept what is gone, what has passed. When we are angry about something that happened in the past, it is like suffering again for something we have already suffered for. It is as if we are suffering again. Then we also have pre-suffering … We have three types: there is suffering, re-suffering [you suffer again] and then there is pre-suffering [nothing has happened yet but we are already worried about the possibility of something happening] “It may be that this thing will happen … and then today when I go there it might happen … and this person will say this, that…” Nothing has happened; everything is only in our head. So we need to live in the present. If we are able to bring ourselves back to the present, a big part of our anger is gone because anger is very often related to the past or the future.

Being in the present is very useful, but how can we be present? Observe your breath, feel your body, OK? Can you feel the weight of your body on the chair? You can feel the clothes on your skin. You can feel the temperature of the air. You can feel the movement of your body when you breathe, can’t you? By observing the body you bring yourself into the present. Doing this three times a day helps a lot to be more objective, so we don’t get lost in the future or get lost in the past.

Once a man approached Buddha and asked him, “Oh, Buddha what are you doing?” and Buddha replied, “My disciples and I walk, sit and eat.” Then the man looked at him and said “I also walk, sit and eat. What is so special?” Then Buddha replied, “When I walk I am walking, when I sit I am sitting, when I eat I am eating. That is the difference”. Normally, the moment we do anything, we are doing something else – the mind is walking around on its own. When we are sitting, our mind is not there, it is wandering around somewhere, who knows where. Instead we need to be present in the present moment, OK?