Being present. Being presence itself. Dropping into this moment. Over and over and over. This is the gift, the challenge, and the opportunity being relentlessly and lovingly presented. Only through presence can we be deeply grounded in the body, deeply here.
Being nomadic we have no external place to be grounded; no home and no familiar surroundings. Only here, only now, only this, and whenever we stray from this, discontent arises and leads inevitably to suffering. The discontent arises in any old way the mind can make up. The mind is an extremely clever and imaginative “machine” that can dream up discontent in a heartbeat, and with our lifestyle it is easiest to dream up a story of discontent because of the constant change. Nothing is familiar, and therefore presumed safe. Every week it’s a new city, a new “home” to get used to, and if we’re not grounded in the body, in the self, in the heart, there’s nothing external for us to cling to.
Presence – being with, being aware of, all that is right here right now. Even more than that, it’s simply being. Awareness. The mind frequently wants me to believe that I need to be doing something different, or that I need to be in a different place, or that things need to be different from what is right here right now. In presence all that falls away: there’s no worrying about the future, no fretting about the past. There’s no “grass is greener” – no “I don’t want to be doing this, I want to be doing that “: there’s only this: this moment, this experience, this feeling, this now.
All this applies to any lifestyle. But being nomadic is really bringing this home to us (no pun intended) because we have none of the usual external props to keep us grounded and provide the illusion of stability. We are endlessly stepping off a cliff into the unknown. So is everyone really, but if you stay in one place it’s not as obvious. It’s only in presence that the cliff disappears. We are both being moved, over and over again, back to presence. It’s the only thing that makes the cliff disappear. In presence everything is okay exactly the way it is.
As we travel we are regularly asked what we are going to do when we stop travelling, the underlying question being “where will you live?” We don’t know. We literally have no idea where or when or what or how. We’re not even looking. The great benefit of living from presence is that it doesn’t matter. We know all we need to know in this moment. What we need to know arises at the time we need to know it.
And so we just keep jumping off that cliff into presence, grounded in our own beings. It is a gift, an opportunity, a blessing, and yes indeed a moment-by-moment challenge. The mind has its relentless stories. We get scared about the future. We get scared about money. We get tired of the constant moving. And so we are relentlessly prompted to return to presence. This is the grand opportunity, and great blessing being presented to us. And in presence all is well.
Jointly written by Alison and Don
Photo of the day: Offerings for the Buddha – lotus blossoms. Mt Kulen, Cambodia
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.