I took my paddle board out today. After a stretch of rain, wind, and cold, the warmth of the October sun seemed to sooth a chill that I didn’t even know I had. As I placed my board in the sea, I noticed how clear the water was. Polished rocks, tiny silver minnows, and bits of seaweed graced the bottom of the bay. I ended up here after I opened my eyes. It was here all along, patiently awaiting my arrival.
Stroke after stroke, I became one with the water, nothing but a tiny speck in a great expanse. I felt myself expand, connected to everything around me. The birds as they took flight whenever I would near, the ripples of the water as I dipped my paddle in, were all impacted in some way by my actions, as tiny as they may have seemed.
I felt great joy, I knew that “this moment, this day, this life is a gift.” My next thought was, “how do I receive it?”
I wanted to somehow share what I felt out there, that it was so special, but it would be even greater if I could share it; give the gift to someone else as well. “Honor this gift I have been given” is what I heard.
So as I retraced my steps in order to understand how I was able to receive that gift of oneness, of pure joy, I realized that it was my Presence (a state of being totally aware of the moment without judgment or projections of the past or future), that brought me there.
The most effective way I have learned to get into a state of presence, so far, is through attention to my breath. I breathe in deeply and exhale deeply, feeling the sensations in my body at that moment. It sounds too simple to be effective. Yet, I have found simplicity to be profound and true.
Try noticing your breath and practice it patiently over time. Your thoughts will begin to fade into the background, until you no longer hear them and you hear what is happening right now, in this moment. That’s how you open yourself to the gift of Presence, of true joy.