Let me invite you to explore a little practice. It’s an approach I found very helpful. Its purpose is to open up a gateway that can directly lead to valuable insights. As a result, we may well tap into more constructive ways of directing our intentions and creativity. The technique called “Walking on the path of arrival” could be structured in two simple steps.
First – whether you are walking, sitting, standing or reclining – get into the habit of connecting to the basic truth expressed in these simple words: “I am right here; I have just arrived”. This enables you to temporarily stop the habitual chase after future experiences. It counteracts the rather problematic idea that another time will be “better than this moment”. This idea is problematic insofar as it keeps us trapped within an endless loop of ignorance and craving.
The second step is to realize that the power to think, speak or act is in itself the very energy that directly shapes our personality and subsequently, our life. Therefore, our only chance to constructively assume responsibility manifests as a potential within the present moment. There lies our true power! Think of a misinformed explorer who burns all his savings and energy chasing a pipe dream. Such is the life of those who disregard this moment for the sake of experiencing another.
The Experience of Arrival
Learning to mindfully extend the duration of this experience is crucial if you want to go any deeper. Allow me therefore to share a few tips on how to arrive more efficiently.
Using the tactile sense as an anchor
Spread your awareness equally throughout the entire body. Directly experience the sensation of “body-ness” as it presents itself to you. Furthermore, spend a few moments allowing the cluster of feelings to become stronger as you nourish it with undivided attention.
Using the auditory sense as an anchor
You can also cultivate a panoramic awareness of sound. For some of us this is easier than cultivating mindfulness of physical sensations. We can hear sound only within the present moment. With our ears it is impossible to perceive future or past sounds.
Using mental fabrication as an anchor
Become aware of thoughts, feelings and perceptions. I recommend this approach if there’s some degree of stability within the observing quality. You may benefit greatly from this anchor if you’re not easily “pulled into” the stream of mental phenomena.
Keep in mind that it is impossible to perceive feeling, sound or thought outside of this moment of perception. Train yourself consistently to dwell within the mindset of arrival. Abandon the idea that truth is waiting for you elsewhere. It will become easier once you start returning to the practice consistently.
The Arrival of Wisdom
Having arrived is a great thing – it’s lots of fun. It will not lead to a deeper insight into reality as long as we are still perceiving objects in a deluded way though. What I mean by that is that we usually see objects as lasting, satisfactory and as being or pertaining to a self. We either feel as the owner of temporary experiences or totally identified with aspects of the body-mind network. All the aspects mentioned above are to be realized through direct observation of experiences. It’s not about believing something or holding yet another view as your own. It’s merely about observational skills.
Once you have arrived, you can see that every feeling, every sound and every mental fabrication is subject to impermanence. It arises and passes. As you get better at seeing this fact you will gradually realize just how fast these objects actually arise and pass. You can see that experiences are “buzzing” with every breath… Coming just to this one insight consistently is something truly incredible. This leads you straight to the end of stress – just keep going.
It’s all about investing the time to step back. See what is as it actually is, beyond notions and thought – in all its simplicity. This has to be performed repeatedly to show profound results. Seeing through the idea that anything we try to hold on to actually lasts… Can you imagine the implications of such an insight?