"Who am I, standing in the midst of this thought-traffic?"
Rumi 

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“When one's degree of consciousness is high, one realizes that one’s life is always here, always now.”
 

“Man is a temporary spectator, but through presence, he can become an eternal witness.”
 

“All the while it is the present only.”
Walt Whitman 

“Do not wait for anything that is not in the present moment.”
 

“Keep possessing presence, and if you do not have it, keep looking for it.”
 

We all have memories of moments when we experienced our lives more fully, deeply, vividly. Perhaps we were in love, or traveling in a new place, or experiencing a strong shock ("I hit that car!"), or simply looking out the window at a tree.

Suddenly the moment comes into focus—the tree we've seen a hundred times is vibrant and new. We aren't re-running the past or planning the future. We are keenly aware of being alive in this instant. We see our bodies as part of the environment—we watch our heads move, our hearts feel, and our minds think. Something is intelligently present that is not a thought, an emotion, or a sensation. We are empty, and it is a profoundly real experience.

Then the phone rings, a dog barks, and the details of our lives rush into the emptiness. We may try to recapture that state, which is so startlingly new, yet strangely familiar, but it eludes us. Why can't we simply be there, again?