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On day 8, Yanai asked us to imagine being a wave on the ocean. You are made of, and surrounded by, water, moving along, compelled by the moon—by outside forces beyond your control. Then you just barely start to notice something on the horizon.

Hmm. What is that?

Oh shit it’s the shore!


And now you’re no longer a wave… but you are still water.

This is not forever — but this is for now.

Something about the simplicity of this image really moved me. And when he later said, ‘There is just this,’ I felt the truth of that so deeply that it I find I am still metabolizing it, two months later.

This cup of tea. There is just this.

Titmice at the feeder! There is just this.

I’m walking down the hallway. There is just this.

The car won’t start. There is just this.

I’m worried about getting to the gig on time. There is just this.

This wrap tastes delicious! There is just this.

My friend is really disappointed about what happened at her work. There is just this.

Am I able to access this clarity at all times? Um… no, of course not! I still have lots of moments throughout the day when I lose contact entirely with the present moment. In those moments, I’m usually planning or worrying about the future (I need to remember to email so-and-so back, oh shit, I hope she’s not upset with me) or ruminating about or relishing in the past (things were so much easier yesterday when I wasn’t dealing with my sore shoulder).

Then I will remember to find my feet, or my hands, or my breath, and remind myself: There is just this.

I am feeling worried because I really need to honor agreements.

There is pain behind my shoulder blade.

So simple, and not easy.

Practice makes… easier, not perfect.

‘Time past and time future / What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present.’ -T.S. Eliot