About six or seven months after having first heard of the exercises of awareness of the present moment and self-observation from Belsebuub’s courses, I went on a weekend retreat about two hours outside the city with some friends in order to look into how we could improve with it.
On the last day of the weekend while taking a walk through nature (on the Bruce Trail) to try to be aware, about five minutes into the walk, all of a sudden, I began to feel very light. Instead of this heaviness that I was so used to, something different took over, and it felt almost as if I was gliding along the path. The colors became so vibrant, the smells so distinct, and the sounds of the forest so crisp that it seemed I could hear every single leaf rustling in the wind. Everything sort of clicked into place and slowed down, whereby I could watch the moment unfolding with my five senses in unison. It was almost indescribable, a really amazing feeling.
I had been making lots of attempts to be in the present moment continuously whenever I could remember to throughout the weekend, but then, when I finally got to this natural inner state of awareness, even for those brief two minutes, it was truly one of the greatest feelings I’d ever had.
When I first heard about awareness and self-observation, I thought it would be boring to simply observe what is around me and within me, to not be thinking of anything that is going to happen in the future or thinking of things that have happened in the past. And that whole weekend was no different—those types of thoughts kept coming up and taking me away from the practice much of the time.
I knew that these thoughts were simply obstructions though. I saw how my mind was trying to occupy itself, not wanting to put in the effort that the awareness required and keeping me from gaining the results of doing it properly.
On that walk when I tapped into the feeling of awareness, I experienced how wonderful it is not to be burdened by worries, negative thoughts, etc. but instead to actually hear, see, and really feel what was truly happening around me. It was quite a revelation to just peacefully observe the forest and feel myself walking through it.
Although I had read what Belsebuub had written about how to be aware before, as well as other people’s experiences of doing it, finally getting it right actually showed and confirmed how it could be possible to be happy and at peace no matter what it is that I had to do in any given moment of any given day, if I could only bring myself to really be in the moment. And at the same time, being in the moment allowed me to see all the things going on within me, uncovering the causes of my thoughts, feelings, and actions, and seeing how they took me on their own tangents, for example into daydreams and heavy emotions that would then color how I perceived the world and acted within it.
As soon as I got back to the city, I made attempts to keep the awareness going every day. I found that even when practicing it with something as simple as walking down the street, instead of going along with the thoughts that like to be negative, that tell you that you are bored, or remind you of all the things that you have to get done, I could become aware of myself walking, everything that is happening around me, and choose not to go along with those things inside that would otherwise keep me stuck within them. I realized that whenever I got the awareness right, I began learning how to live “in the moment.”