Returning to the Present Moment. Adar II, Week 3

This is the moment right now—let us rejoice and give thanks. —Psalm 118:24
As we reach this third week of Adar Sheni, we return to wondering about time—asking ourselves to notice how much time we spend in the present moment and how much time we spend turning toward the past or reaching into the future. This week encourages us to seek to occupy the present moment—to feel its richness and experience its offerings.

Sometimes the mind looks toward the past with appreciation or turns toward the future with calm wonder. In these instances, we can usually return to the present moment with some sense of ease.

More challenging is when the mind gets fixated upon the past—regretting what was, bemoaning what might have been, replaying conversations, going over events, clinging to experiences that are long gone.

Also challenging is when the mind leaps into the future, worrying about what might be, becoming fearful of what could occur, seeking to control what will happen, or making up stories about what will unfold.

This third week of Adar Sheni reminds us to notice where our minds take us—are we roaming around in the past—are we leaping into the future?

The call is to return to the present moment. Now is where we are. Now is all we can know. Be in the present moment and live from here.

This is a challenging call, it is the nature of the mind to wander and bringing it back to the present again and again is a constant practice. Each time we do, we strengthen our ability to be present and we open ourselves to experiences of insight, calm, gratitude and wonder.

Exercise: Gratitude
Finding a pleasant place to sit, we lift our eyes, notice our surroundings and begin saying:

I am grateful.

Then, naming what surrounds us we say:

I am grateful for… the trees out the window, the cup of tea on the table, the soft chair, the photograph on the wall, the smell of the breeze…

After a few minutes, we close our eyes and continue saying:

I am grateful for… naming whatever comes to heart/mind, allowing it to flow as a stream of consciousness.

Opening our eyes again, we say a few more phrases of gratitude and close the exercise with the psalm verse:

This is the moment right now—let us rejoice and give thanks.

Meditation: This Is the Moment Right Now
As we take our seats, we let our attention rest lightly on the breath, noticing the movement and the sensations of the body as the breath is received and released.
After a few moments we say to ourselves:

Zeh hayom. This is the moment right now.

We let this awareness travel with the breath, repeating again and again:

Zeh hayom. This is the moment right now.
Each time we notice the attention has wandered, we give thanks for noticing and we call ourselves back by repeating:

Zeh hayom. This is the moment right now.

We close the sit by setting an intention that as we go about our day, we will notice the mind wandering and when we find ourselves reviewing the past or worrying about the future, we will call ourselves back to the present by saying to ourselves gently, with love:

Zeh hayom, this is the moment right now.

—Rabbi Yael Levy 

12 Adar II 5779

To guide you mindfully through the two months of Adar, A Way In presents a series of original teachings from Rabbi Yael Levy. These take you week by week through both months, offering intentions, exercises, practices and meditations to help your ride the waves of these times.

These teachings will appear weekly here on the website, but if you would like to read ahead or engage with them at your own rhythm, we are also very excited to offer an eBook guide for purchase containing the full two month's worth of Rabbi Yael's Adar teachings. Learn more and purchase the eBook.

We have also prepared a schedule, available on our website, to help you line up the weekly 5779 Adar teachings with 2019 dates.

Please donate to A Way In and/or purchase an eBook to keep Rabbi Yael's teachings free and available for all.