There is a simple, transformative thing a person can do to bring calm into the picture in a moment of stress. When you become aware of being caught up in anger or fear or frustration, take a moment to breathe, to feel yourself be. Say to yourself, I’m just here.
The recipe for peace, always, is to have attention on present-moment reality.
What does that mean, just here? It means alive, aware, in this place, this moment. Not in some other time or place, which the mind has probably been insisting was possible (even necessary). There’s often a discrepancy between where you are and where your attention is. You’re here, but your thoughts and emotions are focused on something happening later today, or happening now but elsewhere, or something that occurred earlier in the week, or twenty years ago. The result of the split between body and mind is often an ill-at-ease feeling, or worse, real emotional turmoil — and about something that’s only “real,” just now, inside your head.
The recipe for peace, always, is to have attention on present-moment reality, without resistance.
Just here, remind yourself. This is the only place you are, or can be. When you whisper that to your mind, its contents may lose color and momentum, restoring you to a little calm and presence, where you can simply feel yourself be. In present-moment awareness, your heart slows down. The tension unwinds. You can feel your breathing. Your here-ness. Ah . . . Things are more okay than you realized.
Almost always, here — this moment — is pretty much okay, especially if you aren’t tightened against whatever’s happening in the present. When you’re able to see that the source of the pain isn’t what’s around you this moment, but is a string of thoughts that your mind has convinced you are real, the tension will have a chance to relax. Deeply taking in just here is like being gently led into a warm, still pool in the middle of the ruckus.
Just here, just here.
It means something else too, something deeper. Just here means simply being. Not doing something or being somebody. For the moment, simply here. Aware. Still. Existentially here. Your awareness is the space in which the present moment is happening. You can sense this. It’s the experience of pure I am (the thing Nisargadatta talks about). Not (just for these few restful moments) I am a parent, or I am bewildered, or I am trying to improve things in my life. The end of any possible sentence has dropped off, leaving you with the unencumbered experience of I am. Feel the essence that remains. Feel how peaceful it is.
Just here. Here for the moment. That’s enough. You don’t need to have an opinion just now, to do something. You’re just here.
Something in each of us — something fundamental, the stuff we’re made of — is plain, unresisting awareness. Something in us is capable of being just here. Perfectly still and empty. Nothing more to it. At your center is a profound and quiet neutrality. An alert, radically allowing presence. When you grow quiet enough to sense this, in a moment of busy or challenging life, there is no place for torment to take hold.
Something in you is just here. Really here. And not anyplace else.