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Your Favorite Things

An Excerpt from Living in the Now
 
living in the nowWhat do you like most about being alive now on planet earth? The song from “The Sound of Music” about favorite things (“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… these are a few of my favorite things”) is an expression from Essence. When we are in Essence, we love the little things, like whiskers on kittens—what a miracle! There’s so much joy when we are really present to life and the miracle that it is. We get joy from the littlest things.

This is so unlike the ego, which disparages such things. “Oh that—I’ve seen that before!” is its attitude. The ego wants life to be about it, not about life itself. The ego loves whatever makes it feel good about itself, not what makes it feel good. This egocentricity is one of the most obvious differences between the state of ego identification and our natural state, or Essence. The ego refers whatever is happening back to itself: What will it mean to me? But when we are in Essence, we experience Essence’s joy at experiencing itself through all of creation.

So what is it you love about life? It’s so good to notice and acknowledge this because doing so aligns us with Essence and strengthen our awareness of Essence’s presence in our life. When we notice those whiskers, those dew drops, those beautiful and amazing things about planet earth and its creations, we can’t help but feel Essence’s joy. The only thing that gets in the way of that joy is not noticing such things, and the only reason we don’t is if we are busy noticing something else, which for most people is their thoughts.

Do your thoughts bring you that same kind of joy? It really helps to notice the impact that thoughts have on your state of consciousness, because when you do, you see that they don’t give you the same peace, joy, and happiness that noticing life more purely does.

Do you love how the clouds move and shift as you watch them? Do you love how the stars seem to twinkle? Do you love how your dog’s chest moves up and down when breathing? Do you love the sound of the wind in the trees before a storm? Do you love the smell of damp leaves in the fall? Do you love the feel of the water against your skin when you are swimming through it? It’s impossible to run out of things to love about life. What a wonderful spiritual practice it is to notice and feel gratitude for the little things in life. What feels that way is Essence. So you see, Essence is very close at hand. It’s not some mysterious force separate from us but that which lives through us and experiences this precious life we have been given.

What a different world it is when, instead, we are identified with the ego. Every little experience and change has tension around it: “Will it be good or bad for me?” The ego evaluates everything, even the breeze, even the dew, even the whiskers on kittens. It can find a problem with anything: “The breeze musses my hair. The dew makes my feet wet. I need to trim those whiskers.” That’s how the ego sees life. It’s always about how something affects me, how it might affect me in the future, or how it has affected me in the past.

The egoic mind tells stories about the big and little things in life, which take us out of the experience of life and make life seem more terrible, frightening, and troublesome than it actually is. The reason living in Essence feels peaceful is that peace is the real experience of life. Yes, life is more peaceful than the ego’s experience of it. The mind scares us and causes us to distrust life and live in fear, doubt, and suspicion of what is going to happen rather than in excited anticipation for what will be revealed next in this great adventure called life. Yes, life is terrible sometimes, but it’s never as terrible as the mind says it is. The ego makes life terrible by telling us that life is terrible. How obvious this is once we really look, and that is the difference. When we are conscious and noticing what’s true rather than unconscious and accepting what the mind tells us, the truth is obvious. Just notice this beautiful gift of life that you have been given. Just notice what is true and real.
 
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