To love, we have to fall in love with reality, with what's true right now, not with what might be true in the future or with what we want to be true in the future. Love happens in the present moment (like everything, really). That's why the ego doesn't know about love—because love is the experience of being in the present moment, and as soon as the ego experiences the present moment, it runs from it. Commitment takes a willingness to fall in love with reality, with the real partner who is in front of you, rather than seek something else, either actually or through fantasy. What you commit to is what's here right now. Who knows what will be here next? All you ever really have is what's here right now, so it makes sense to commit to that, to give your full attention, your love, to that.
Those who have difficulty committing to a relationship often have difficulty committing to other things as well because they have an underlying belief, or misunderstanding, that what's here isn't good enough and what's somewhere else is better. This is the ego's basic assumption about life: Whatever is happening now isn't it. It is somewhere else, with it being ultimate happiness and contentment. The ego assumes it is elsewhere, because the ego perceives whatever is happening as not good enough, and it concludes that must mean there's something else that will be good enough. It imagines one day it will find peace and happiness because life will finally line up correctly. Those who can't commit are waiting for life to line up, fall into place, and they're quite sure that what they imagine life will look like then won't look like whatever life looks like now.
Slowing down is key to living a more heart-centered life, because shifting gears helps us shift our consciousness and become more present. In fact, it’s quite impossible to shift out of the ego without slowing down. We can’t be present and live as Presence and still rush around, glued to our cell phone while trying to do six other things at once. When you know Presence, you don’t even want to live like that, because you realize that you won’t stay present for long if you do.
The biggest stumbling block to slowing down is the perception that we won’t have enough time to do everything we need to do. But slowing down can actually leave us with more time, not less. Hurrying is counterproductive because it’s stressful. Stress creates emotions, and emotions are exhausting and take time to process or cope with. To deal with stress, we might stop at a bakery for a cupcake, call a friend to complain to, or go on a shopping spree. The ways we cope with stress take up time! Hurrying also makes us more prone to mistakes and accidents, and you know what those do to your plans. Besides, hurrying doesn’t feel good. So how is hurrying good?
When I was lying awake one morning, I asked for some advice, and I heard two words: “Be pleased.” The voice continued: “Be pleased with life, be pleased with your work, be pleased with your husband...” I felt the impact of these two simple words on my being, and I smiled inside.
During the day, those words popped into my awareness many times. In contemplating this a bit more later in the day, while just being quiet, I noticed how “be pleased” aligns you with that which is always pleased with life. This injunction “be pleased” could just as well have been “notice what is already pleased with life.”
Something within us is pleased with and fascinated by what it sees, hears, tastes, feels, and experiences—even with what the mind might not think is pleasant. Who we really are is curious about and in wonder over creation. What a miracle life is! Whether the personal you likes something or not, the real you adores it, literally adores it, everything about it. To it, everything about life is a miracle.
This that adores life is who we are and can never be taken from us. It is what is constant throughout our existence. What a blessing it is that we are imbued with this capacity to enjoy life, to adore life, to be pleased by it! This is love. We are what is in love with life. We are love.
The experience of the present moment is an experience of Presence. It is called Presence simply because it’s what we experience when we are fully present. Although Presence is too mysterious, rich, and profound to be captured by words, we have many words for it, including Stillness, Silence, Ultimate Reality, the Now, Essence, the Sacred, Wholeness, the Mystery, the Divine, “the peace that passeth all understanding,” Unity, Oneness, Love, Truth, and Awareness. These are all attempts to describe the ineffable experience of being in touch with who we really are.
We use words such as stillness, silence, peace, and love to describe Presence not only because we become still, silent, peaceful, and loving when we’re in Presence, but also because when we become still, silent, peaceful, or loving, we drop into Presence. Thus, many of the words that describe Presence are both a description and a prescription for experiencing it.
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