I enjoy the work and words of Pema Chodrum. The title of this piece, How to Taste the Quality of the Moment reminds me of the Sensory Awareness work of Charlotte Selver. What could be more wonderful than knowing how to "taste the quality of the moment"? As Pema says, "It could be the main koan of your life."
How to Taste the Quality of the Moment
It could be the main koan of your life:
How to taste the quality of the moment, of the week, without the labels of good and bad, or succeeding and failing. But really just get used to tasting or knowing or experiencing the quality of what you are going through, not as some final thing.
I think Rilke said "no feeling is final". Its a great line in one of his poems. No feeling is final, but somehow in the moment, we often feel, a sort of - this is how it is - in such a heavy way. And then so much story line goes with that that it drags us down.
So sometimes we like what we are feeling and then we don't like what we're feeling. And then we like it again, and then we don't like it again. And then it just sort of goes like that - it's actually fine for it to be like that.
Enlightened people, from what I have heard, the moods come and go, the energy shifts come and go. Its not like suddenly you are enlightened and then the rain never comes. It doesn't mean you don't wake up with a headache, or a heavy feeling in your heart.
But basically it never goes beyond that, its just the quality of awakened energy as it is manifesting right now. So it is a really profound deep shift of attitude towards our moods and thoughts and our emotions.
The path of liberation depends on not taking everything so personally.
I remember Trungpa Rinpoche saying to a group of students, one of which was complaining about their very very difficult work situation with a very difficult boss, and his answer began with the statement "well the trouble is, we all take everything so personally". And I remember we all laughed and it seemed like a really funny comment. But I now see exactly what he meant.
Taking it personally means investing so much energy and time as if you are like this, and the situation is like this, and its fixed, instead of realizing that its always shifting and changing.
Sometimes the sun is brightly shining, and sometimes it hasn't shone for the last three days. And you feel what you feel about that. But of course what we are really talking about is the emotional weather.
excerpted from a talk entitled "Guidelines for Living Fearlessly"
Recorded in Gampo Abbey, July 2008
Great Path, Pema Chodron Books and Tapes