be here now

Today my friend Josh (of Press Pause to Reflect) leaves for a graduate program in Israel. Another tally for the transitory nature of things, especially at this point in our lives for a lot of the people I know - all our friends are leaving, coming or going, and we just have to keep going.

I think when people find out that I identify as a Buddhist, many of them imagine that I've got it all figured out. It seems like a lot of folks assume that all Buddhists are already enlightened - but I am more Atlas than Buddha, to be honest. It's hard for me to let things go, especially the past. I carry this world of my history around, slowly spinning on my back, unable to just set it down most of the time.

One of my first introductions to Buddhism was Allen Ginsburg's Deliberate Prose, in an essay about either drugs or meditating - the piece of advice he received from his teacher was applicable to both. "If you find something awful," he said, "let it go. If you find something beautiful, let it go." But there was also Kerouac, and my 17-year-old self identified so strongly with this man who remembered too much and wrote it down. A friend once told me, you remember so much, and partially this is the disease of diary-writing - I have all these events floating around in my head, so I am constantly remembering where I have been, who I have been. It's hard to let go of that, to be here now, to remember that life is too frequently elsewhere but it shouldn't be.

Before yoga class begins, our teacher asks us to bring our hands together in front of our hearts and set an intention for that night's practice. Mine is always to focus on being in my body in that moment. I'm not sure it's something I'll achieve one hundred percent any time soon, but the only thing I can do is keep trying.

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