"Be still. Let yourself rest from all the effort. From thinking you know something. Feel that you are here, that you exist: just that. Feel the restfulness there." These are the poetic words of Jan Frazier, a spiritual teacher and writer, whose theme in this superb paperback is the important spiritual practice of being present.
Want to get off the merry-go-round of desire and loss? Want to escape from the seesaw of expectation and disappointment? Be at ease with what is and quit living in the past where you are locked in regrets or in the future where hopes are often dashed. You begin the spiritual journey, according to Frazier, when you open to the present moment and see everything as a teacher.
You are free from attachment and the quest for security. Or as the author puts it: "Nothing is real but now. And now is enough. It's abundant." Frazier has a cornucopia of insights on how to cultivate this self-awareness. Among her suggestions are unplugging the suffering machine, living in feeling, dealing with fear, and caring for the familiar self. Here in closing is a being present exercise:
"How would you complete this sentence?
"What comes to you? I am . . . what? I am a . . . what? I am a person who . . . what? Sit in the feeling of that, a statement or two about yourself. See how such a statement names a feature, or a thing you do, or value. . . .
"Now remove whatever follows the word am. Let the end of the sentence float away on the breeze of forgetting, just for a moment, who you seem to be.
"Sit in I am. Just that. Feel your way into the vast stillness at the center of all you are.
"Notice that you be.
"Sit for a long time. Sit until you've forgotten to notice how much time has gone by."