Yesterday I had a few more thoughts about the iPod-induced state of bliss that I described earlier. I was listening to music in my car while driving to work (I got a Monster iCar tuner, which seems to work quite well with my iPod) when I realized that I was really enjoying my morning commute.
Add music and each present moment becomes just a little more worth living. You know how it is. We so often go restlessly through our lives either impatiently living in the future (as when we are late for work and we curse the red traffic-light; or when we rehearse hundreds of times the next meeting with your boss) or regretfully living in the past (as when we get angry again at our parents for something they did 25 years ago; or we regret something we did or didn’t do when we were 20 or that morning). But at times, we find ourselves completely captured by the present, this here and now. We stop caring about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow; we lose interest in the incessant conversation we have with ourselves. We free ourselves from the rigidity of remembering the past and imagining the future and we start to experience the presence, in all its unpredictable flow.
It suddenly hit me how in my ipod world everything looks new and more interesting. Grocery shopping is usually a dreadful task, but with music getting a produce plastic bag at Whole food seems so fascinating, if I take the time to notice the light shining through and the slight resistance of the perforated plastic; the radiant green of the green beens; the expressions of the people around me.
It seems that all moments of happiness are moments in which I feel that the present moment is more interesting than what happened a moment before and what is not here yet. I stop moving back and forth in time and I get a taste of a here and now zen moment. I am not arguing with myself, obsessing about what happened yesterday, and worrying about what will happen tomorrow. I am just curious, open, and happy.
I suspect that this happens in all moments of bliss. We are present, we are here with all our being, and we enjoy being here more than in any other place or time. I wish I could feel that way more often. My buddhist friends promise that meditation practice teaches us how to reach this state all of the times, like having a device that we can always take with us, does not require batteries or chargers or wires, and makes interesting even the least pleasant situations. A perpetual iPod bliss state. Now, if I were not so lazy…
A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!