Awake in the World

Zen Buddhist author, Natalie Goldberg teaches a form of walking meditation in her writing workshops. She instructs people to coordinate each step with a breath as a way to become more aware and present. The pace of walking slows significantly and becomes a moving meditation. Meditation at its best and highest is conscious living in action where mind, body and spirit are in harmony. It brings awareness not only during moments of silent sitting, but also begins to permeate all aspects and areas of life. It’s a concentrated effort to tame and train the mind to be present, awake, alert to the possibilities.

When Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Sogyal Rinpoche taught meditation he often spoke of meditation as a training practice. At first the mind resists, but little by little it becomes accustomed to being here in the present. It’s a bit like training for a race. Like the body, the mind works up to longer periods of silent sitting. In an early period of practicing presence, I sat at the kitchen table looking out at the sea. As I ate one spoonful of tomato soup at a time, working hard to be in the moment and not read the newspaper, tears started to well up and pour down my cheeks, drop off of my nose and into my tomato soup. I wanted to ask my teacher then and there, “What’s so great about being in the moment?”

The quiet presence left space for all of the pain and suppressed hurts and fears to surface. At the time my heart was heavy with unconscious pain and I wanted to keep my mind occupied to avoid feeling it. But as the pain surfaced and tears flowed, I felt lighter and happier than I’d felt for a very long time. The grief of so many losses began to dissipate as they were released through tears, writing and allowing them to surface into the light of full consciousness.

For an instant today, if you will, be completely present to yourself, for yourself. Listen to what your heart’s calling you to do. Feel your emotions. Observe the mind. Be with yourself without judgment – in love with yourself and the precious moment.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and internationally. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years learning meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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