All suffering is either anticipated or remembered, never experienced in the present moment.
– A Course in Miracles
The little boy was only 9 years old, his face was contorted in pain and his shoulders heaved up and down over and over again as sobs wracked his body and tears streamed down his cheeks. He was sitting in a child-size wooden chair in jeans and a t-shirt as he looked at the picture he had just drawn of his father in jail behind bars. We just sat in silence in front of that picture and he cried for the next 30 minutes until it was time to leave. There was nothing for me to do except to quietly be there with him while he cried and cried. His father had recently been put in jail for dealing crack cocaine and his mother had brought him in for counseling. The following week when his mother brought him back for our next therapy session she said gratefully, “I don’t know what you did, but keep doing it because he’s getting better now.” That was over 20 years ago in a therapy session in our play room where I was working at the time.
All I gave was the gift of nothing. No judgments, no expectations and no trying to fix or make it better; just being together pure and simple. When this young soul was feeling his pain, all there was to do was be together, and in the silence and the suffering there was a profound intimacy and an exquisite peace and unconditional love we touched together that existed beyond this boy and I in that moment that touched eternity and was enough to begin to heal the pain of loss and the agony of shattered hopes and dreams.
We all spend our time working so hard to achieve our goals, or we are so focused on the struggles in our life that we miss the pure joy that exists in this moment. This simple joy of pure being is always right here and is with you right now but we are either focused on our future goals or our past trauma playing out in our current life situations and patterns of conflict that we are not fully present in the moment. Working towards your goals is fine, but it can become an addiction that causes us to lose sight of what is most important in life.
Everything you really want is right here and right now in the silence of eternity that constantly surrounds you with the overwhelming embrace of pure, unconditional love. This field of pure unconditional love is really real; more real than all your goals for the future and more real than all the fears from your past that replay themselves in the cycles of conflict in your life. This eternal love is more real than all the emotional baggage of your ego. You are totally loved and accepted just as you are and there is nothing you have to do or achieve to find the happiness of this inner peace except to release your preoccupation with your ego concerns.
I encourage you to spend some daily time in silence or meditation to just be with the love of the universe that is closer to you than your breath and is ever present with you in this eternal moment. Bring the awareness of this peace to the struggles of your daily life. Release your relentless attachment to your goals for the future and let go of your focus on your fears from your past and simply bring your full presence to the stillness of the present moment and you may find more than you expected. In that moment of stillness you will become a beacon that positively impacts all those around you.