Every evening at the same time, the sun reaches a point where it touches the top of the wall and if I’m lucky, like today, I’m there to see it. I stand there watching, taking it in, doing nothing. There’s no wind, and no sound except the noise of an occasional swallow cutting through the air above me.
The moment that has passed is gone, over, and the moment yet to come is still not here – not quite, because this is now. Not the past, not the future, but the present.
“There’s a profound and miraculous mystery right under our noses: this instant of now has no duration at all, yet somehow it contains all the causes from the past that are creating the future. Everything arising to become this moment vanishes beneath our feet as the next moment wells up. Since it’s always now, now is eternal.”
Rick Hanson; Just One Thing
But this stillness, this business of staying in the present – it’s not easy. If I try to hang on to what’s happening, to cling to it in any way in order to remember it, I’m no longer there. I’m already remembering the past, or imagining how I’ll remember it in the future.
This is why I try not to think, when I’m taking photographs, that it’s a way of capturing something – I don’t want to capture. I just want to experience – and sometimes (not always) I can do that better with a camera than without one. It makes me watch, and look, and helps me not to think. And thinking – the kind of thinking I really do not want to do, the kind that is mostly imagining things that haven’t happened (yet) and worrying about them – this is what starts to spin round and round in my mind the very first chance I give it. First thing in the morning as soon as I’ve woken up is the worst, when the first few seconds of peaceful blankness have given way to my freshly booted-up conscious brain and the worrying can start. And I remind myself for the thousandth time that this is not real – these are, in fact, just thoughts. I don’t have to believe them. What’s real is now. And now doesn’t have to be worried about.