Home > Child Development, parenting, Uncategorized > Presence in the Moment

Presence in the Moment

Here are two scenarios from the past month:

Andrei on Meditation Pillow#1: We go to  our urban farm, Greensgrow, to buy a pumpkin (several days before Halloween, which is late for most people, but admirably early for us). Pumpkins are sold out (at least the kind we can carve), so we are ready to leave the farm, when our son notices a wagon. Pumpkins are at this point a distant past for him and all he wants RIGHT NOW is to get into that beat-up wagon that is parked right in front of one of the greenhouses. My husband tries to distract Andrei by pointing to the plants in the greenhouse, but that doesn’t work. Michael puts Andrei into the wagon and pushes him around for a few minutes. But then we start to think about our next errand to run, dinner to cook, the meat I forgot to take out of the freezer, about … who knows what else. When we take Andrei out of the wagon, he immediately throws himself on the ground, because all he wants RIGHT NOW is to be in that wagon.

#2: We order a pizza over the phone and take a walk to pick it up (we all love to walk). We know Andrei should be getting hungry (although we don’t think he should be fully hungry yet), and we plan to give him a piece of pizza to nibble on on the way back. However, Andrei wants a piece of the pizza the second the box is handed to us. He wants a piece RIGHT NOW. He is ready to rip that box open just to get to the pizza inside. Michael and I take a minute to reorganize the water bottles we are carrying, the stroller, etc., and then offer Andrei a piece of the pizza. I don’t want it, he says. What he seem to want RIGHT NOW is the water from some water bottle someone left behind. From that very bottle.

I could continue with scenarios of this kind. They happen over and over again throughout the day. Right now is the key phrase and the key concept in our world. When things don’t happen right now, or when we cannot continue the so enjoyable right now, my son throws tantrums. I help him calm down and transition into the less pleasurable new now. But then in some upside-down moment, when I manage to distance myself enough and step into the shoes of a sheer spectator for a second, I wonder what’s wrong with wanting things right now? With fully living in the RIGHT NOW.

I can’t help remembering the hours I spent sitting on those not so comfortable meditation pillows trying to bring myself into the here and now. What I was trying to teach myself is what my son knows – how to simply be, fully be, right now. It was hard. I used all sorts of techniques. I focused on my breath. I followed the air entering my body and exiting my body. I colored the air blue, or red, or green. I focused on the negative space around me, where I was  simply a colorless opening in the world that surrounded me. I tried to let go of the thoughts continuously entering my mind, to let them dissipate. I tried to fight them despite the fact the leader tried to teach us the opposite.

After an hour or two of sitting on that pillow, my mind felt clearer than before everything started, but deep in my heart I was a bit tired of working so hard to simply be. To enter that sphere of existence where my son is, always, right now. It’s so easy for him to be present in the moment. He is not burdened by the weight of past and future. It’s sad to think he will lose that what he knows so well. And what is so difficult for us grown-ups to relearn.

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