So one of the characteristics of this insight meditation practice is the instructions to stay present, knowing what's happening in the present moment. And because that's often emphasized, some people will think that you're only supposed to be in the present moment. And that somehow that present moment is the hit that if you could just be in the present moment, everything will be okay, from then on. And, and, you know, if you're not in the present moment, you've somehow, you know, knocked in the truth or not, you know, it's not with, you know, something, I remember my mom and I had young kids at home, you know, they were going to kindergarten. And it was quite a challenge to sometimes get them out of the house into the car to get to kindergarten on time. And I'd finally get them out of the house. And it was, they were completely in the present moment. And they were there smelling the flowers, looking at them, they find a little rock in the ground, and they were just there with a rock, and they were just there in the moment for what's happening. But I needed to get them in the car. You know, we need to get, you know, to get to school. And so I was happy for them. But you know, so how to be a parent, of course, and kind of negotiate that in a wise way was part of the art but, but, you know, you can overdo this present moment thing. Like Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin was climbing a tree with Hobbes in the cartoon. And Calvin says, Oh, just, you know, everyone should just be in the present moment, and really appreciate and value at this moment. It's so great. And, and then hop says, Yes, that's true, but you're supposed to be at school right now. So anyway, this point about being in the present, I think it's better to think of the present moment in reduce practice, as a place that helps us a reference point that helps us not to get stuck in the past in the future, or stuck in preoccupation that we don't want to project to thinking about the past or reject thinking about the future. But we don't want to be stuck in it or lost and to keep kind of losing the present moment. But at the same time, we don't want to hold up the present moment as being the earth as being the place that we have to be or supposed to be or, you know, the that the the personality sin is to not be in the present moment. There are times in our life where it's useful to be thinking about the past, ruminating about the past, it might even be helpful sometimes to actually kind of get kind of lost in thinking about the past and reviewing it. And sometimes it's helpful to think about the future, and to ruminate about the future, and even kind of let your mind drift and wander and not so much be here in the present moment. And sometimes it's useful to be in the present moment. And, and to be here. But the practice of being in the present moment, is part of the function is to be a reference point, to see where we get stuck, to see if we're getting stuck in the past, or stuck in the future. And you know, you're stuck in the past. If when you're sitting and meditating, you can, you can hardly bring your attention back into the present moment. Or if you bring it back into the present moment, it just immediately goes back into thinking about something in the past or into the future or in fantasy. So then, you know, there's a stuckness there's a preoccupation that's going on, and then you're not really free. But if you can put it down and stay in the present, then you're freer with it. But you have to be also be just as just as easy to put down being in the present. And some people get attached to the idea that they're supposed to be in the present and they're holding on to it. And I've known people who are so challenged by their inner life in a variety of ways. That's their Lifeline, their way of being safe and manage coping in the life is literally to hold on to the present moment. And, and a number of ways of doing it, the first person I encounter who was doing this, he used what's called mental noting.
So he would just label what he saw and experienced in the present moment as was occurring. And he just kept it going kept going kept going. And as long as he kept it going, he kept at bay, all his demons kept at bay, all the things that he didn't want to have to face and deal with. And so he was holding on to the present moment through this technique, what we're looking for is not to be in a present moment, as as the thing to do, where we're looking for is not to be in the past in the future, or we're looking for is not to be stuck in any of it to be to be free, which means that there is a fluidity and ease where people can go back and forth. And there's also some degree of choice. So ability to be more centered here. The more we're in the present moment and learn to be unstuck, the more likely we'll stay in the present moment, or be in the present more often be mindful and attentive. So that's nice, and it's nice to live a life that's more attentive more in the present moment, it's, I think it's a richer life, a more valuable life, to be living really be living the life that you're living, as you're living it to be here, I think it's a really good thing to do. But we want to be careful not to make it the be all and end all of practice. And, and, or to have make anything, any state to be the it, the part of the, the direction that we pass in our practices going to is not ultimately is not to make any state the purpose. But the purpose is not to be stuck, not to be attached. So there's a freedom and a fluidity to move between states, as they're appropriate as they as they occur as we wake up in the morning, and different things can go on. And that's also true for different meditation states, there can be you know, all kinds of different states of mind altered states of consciousness that can happen when we meditate. And they're nice, some of them are very helpful and supportive for us. But ultimately, they're supportive. In our practice, they're supportive to help us in the way in which it helps us to get unstuck. So we don't have to hold on to any state as being Oh, this is it, now I have it, the chances are, as soon as you've made something to it that you're supposed to have, you'll suffer, because you kind of you kind of locked in or stopped resisting or something. So too. So one of the kind of principles in, in our kind of form of Buddhism is that there is no it. Or if there isn't yet the it is an absence. And you can't, it's very difficult to hold on to an absence. And, and the absence is the absence of being stuck the absence of being attached or Okay, holding on. So the difference is between having a clenched fist, and an open fist, the open fist, there's an absence. But that absence you can't clutch to, because if you do that, you cut your hand, again, you've lost the open fist. So it's not not a kind of thing that you can hold on to. But, but one of the things you can do is have the ease to go back and forth. You can have an open hand. But you don't always want to have open hand that's you know, then you can't hold anything. So sometimes you want to have you know, different things, different ways of being. So as a teacher, when I listen to people and talk about their meditation practice or talk about their life, one of the things I'm looking for is not to validate a particular state or particular experience as being the it that this is the thing that this is the thing, but rather, how is it that what they're experiencing? How does that support them and help them to be unstuck, to have the freedom, the ease, to be able to move freely between all the different states that human beings can experience and the different states that are appropriate at different times, different situations, different states of mind different. So there are times when it's appropriate to think about the past. And it's not only appropriate, but it's a healthy to do so. And there's times to to think about the future and it's appropriate to do that. But the art of it is not to get stuck in those places. But when it's useful to do it and pick up that and then when it's not useful to let go of it and move on to the next thing and so that freedom that ease is more the work we're looking for than it is any particular state. So
don't live in the past. Don't live in the future.
But don't get stuck in the present either. Don't Don't kind of hold on to the narrow idea of the present, as this is it. Because if all, if all you did was stay completely in the moment for what's happening here now, it's actually you'll lose some of the richness of human life. And you'll lose some of the richness of our relationship with people and lose some of the richness of, you know, and, you know, the range of what human life is all about. a richer human life includes the past, includes the future, includes all kinds of things. But how to include all of it in a way that we're not stuck, can include all of it so that we're not you know, we don't suffer, we're not lost in its, you know, lost in anything. And so one of the ways to suffer is to think that as a mindfulness practitioner, you're supposed to be in the present moment all the time. It's, it's, it's a wonderful thing to be in the present moment. But sometimes I get the sense in RV personal world, it's a little bit overrated. And maybe I'm partly responsible for that, because, you know, I do champion the value of it. And think I do think it's important, valuable, but you know, everything in its time in place, but ultimately, it's that freedom, the absence of clinging, that we're looking for in this practice. So those are my thoughts and and now I'm anticipating the future which is that in a couple of minutes, we're going to