I have realized that I have to end suffering only IN THIS MOMENT (if, of course, that’s what’s important to me). Conditioning LOVES to tell me HOW MUCH WORK it will take to end suffering in this lifetime. It doesn’t tell me, “Just this breath, Michael, just this breath. Feels good, doesn’t it?”
This, of course, is no surprise. Conditioning’s only focus is MY SUFFERING. And so it makes sense for it to spin a tale of HOW HARD this is going to be, HOW LONG it’s going to take, how I’m not really up to the task, how I’m not that committed, how I don’t have what it takes, how my karma is so difficult and sticky, etc. That is the conversation that conditioning generates in my mind to prevent me from seeing that all I need to do is breathe, crack a half smile, chuckle, stretch, dance IN THIS MOMENT. I don’t need to worry about ALL OF THOSE FUTURE MOMENTS in which, God forbid, I’m going to have to end suffering ALL OVER AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.
I can see as I’m writing this that I am the tennis ball that conditioning wants to hit back and forth from one side of a duality to the other. But my practice is to save the one precious human life that is mine to save. That’s all -- just save one human, and just for this one moment. It’s a manageable task -- and joyful, too! Of course, if I continue my string of good luck (of remaining alive, that is), I will have many future moments to practice saving a human being.
And now, for the nitty gritty. My work is busy and engaging, and I enjoy it. How to continue to center myself while working? I made a recording that says, “You’re doing great!” I tried to measure it on my stopwatch, but it’s so short! I estimate it takes about 1 second to say that. And I follow that with about 15 seconds of silence. And I play that recording to myself, on loop, AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. So approximately 4 times a minute, I receive the message that “I’m doing great!” It’s a lovely support that assists me in staying centered and allows me to stay focused on my work as well. And for extra credit: I listen to it as well when I’m not working. It helps to keep me HERE.