The Secret of Life

These days I’m not too picky about where I find revelation, inspiration, or dedication. It doesn’t have to fit a certain image, philosophy, or point of view. I redefine what “sacred” is every day, and it doesn’t have to come in a pretty package, be perfect or palatable. In fact, I often find the sacred in life’s rawest and most difficult moments.

My only prerequisite is that it wake me up, humble me, reach deep inside me, and reveal to me what I often forget. One of these gems being:

Whatever path we’re on always leads us back to Here.

Think about where you are when you finally get where you’re going. Where is There? It’s Here. There becomes Here, so there’s really no There.

The more I step into the Here, into the Now, into the This, the more I live my fullest, most fearless, most rewarding life.

I recently adopted a mantra of sorts after reading this story, courtesy of Bob on elephant journal:

A young American makes an arduous journey to the farthest reaches of the Himalayas, seeking to learn the secret of life and happiness from one of the greatest Yoga gurus.

Once in the Himalayas, he travels five days up into the mountains, through many trials and difficulties.  Finally he reaches the high mountain pass where the great old man in a white robe and long flowing grey hair sits in lotus position, staring peacefully off into space.

The young man sits down next to the guru and assumes a similar pose, waiting for his words of wisdom.  An hour goes by.  Then several hours.  Then a day, then several days.  Finally the young man says to the old man, “What happens next?”

The guru answers, “Nothing happens next.  This is it.”

That’s become my mantra.

This is it.

When my mind or body want to get ahead of the present moment, I remind them:

This it it.

We are already here. We have already arrived. This is it.

It’s always a little sobering, a little unbelievable, and a lot liberating when I let those three words sink in deep.

This cutting the vegetables is it.
This ground beneath my feet is it.
This breathing is it.
This challenge before me is it.
This pain in my body is it.
This pleasure in my body is it.
This confusion over how this can be it is it.

It is similar to another mantra I used for quite some time, borrowed from Eckhart Tolle:

Honor the present moment.

His full comment goes like this:

As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.

I find these mantras, reminders, and stories invaluable because they give me small, bite-sized tools to incorporate into my everyday life. Here, in our everyday life is where we do the creating, the building, the patterning and repatterning. Small practices repeated every day are what create big change.

We often search high and low for the secret to life, when it’s lived inside us our whole lives. The secret of life is that This Is It. All these unimportant, small seeming, ordinary moments we hurry past in our effort to get There, these are it.

To me the real challenge is not knowing the secret of life. It’s stepping into it with our hearts wide open and finding the sacred in all of This.

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