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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

To Be Present

Though the ultimate spiritual path of Buddhism is reaching Nirvana, with the end of suffering and infinite happiness, for me currently and a goal of mine coming on this trip is to be more present in life. I’m definitely someone very prone to thinking of the past, particularly mistakes(not to say mistakes shouldn’t be learned from), and the future in terms of each stepping stone leading to next and so on; dwelling on thoughts, which I learned is termed rumination, is a sort of not great habit of mine.

The way I’ve been working on being present is based on the Buddhist concept of having no self, but rather, me being the entity of five sheets: body, breath, spiritual, intellect, and emotion that are constantly in flux. The present of my entity is what the five sheets are in the current present. It initially was difficult for me to wrap my head around this concept because I and the essence of self is ingrained deeply into the idea of who we are, but I realized that viewing the entity of “me” as the five sheets not only is being more present, but also allows for me to not be “fixed” as this self that’s continuously there.

On another though I might not become a Buddha, but I do hope to become more enlightened as a better human( I know! Very optimistic!) putting into practice the five wisdoms I’ve learned recently. Each wisdom is associated with a color:

Blue- transformation of anger into mirror like wisdom

White- transformation of ignorance into wisdom of reality

Red- transformation of attachment into wisdom of discernment

Green- transformation of jealousy into wisdom of accomplishment

Yellow – transformation of pride into wisdom of sameness

I’m definitely still learning and processing my understanding of all these Buddhist concepts, struggling as it’s difficult a lot of times to even meditate with a peace of mind in the present without my mind flying to past and future or falling asleep to the image of rainbows in my mind, but I hope to become better!