Sending an email, one waits for a response. Applying for a job, one waits for an interview. Hungry, one waits for the water to boil, the food to cook, the partner to come home, the show to begin…
There is long-term waiting – when I finish school, grow up, get my degree, have children… and there is short-term waiting – for the bus to arrive, the music to play so we can dance, the weather to clear so we can go for a walk or hang the laundry.
We dream, plan, hope – for someone to notice, to love us, for a place to land, the garden to bloom, and so on and on,..
We are waiting to be somewhere other than here in a time other than now. For the mind, it seems, there is nothing more challenging than present time, whereas the body can only exist here, now, which is why focus on breath and sensation in the body is a common meditation practice.
Natalie Goldberg once wrote about watching her Zen master, Katagiri Roshi as he waited for a bus. In that moment she recognized what she had not fully grasped in her hours of meditation practice. The only thing that Roshi was ‘doing’ was waiting for the bus. She sensed in him the stillness of pure being.
My spiritual master, Osho, advised us to ‘celebrate’ everything. I have to admit that it took me quite a long time to understand how one was to ‘celebrate’ experiences such as rage and grief. It turns out that ‘celebrate’ is a big juicy word for presence – surrendering totally to whatever is present.
Just this. Even the ratatat of the mind, once one is aware that it is the mind’s job to chatter, scheme, dream, connive, remember, worry and such business, relaxes. We can choose to engage in the ideas of the mind or to simply notice.
As an observer, or witness, as Osho encourages us to be, we can be the waiting.
The very act of waiting becomes the celebration.
And the wondering mind becomes simply a sense of wonder.
When I was sixteen I poured through the soft purple-covered book, Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass, thrilled and confused and dizzy with excitement about what it all meant. Now Be Here.
Byron Katie calls it “loving what is.”
There are many fingers pointing to the same moon, that bright mother that shines through the darkness. No need to grab the finger – just look where it’s pointing.
It’s a wonder-filled world – inside and out.