January 27 – How am I experiencing this now?

By | January 27, 2024

Dear Friends,

In his book, A Whole-Life Path, Gregory Kramer outlines six tenets for crafting a whole life path, and for me, one of them is particularly relevant when it comes to wise samadhi (concentration), which is “Find each teaching in the here and now.”

On this tenet, Gregory says, “Nearly all of the Buddha’s teachings, even those on subtle aspects of body-mind and refined meditative states, can be directly experienced by just about everyone.” He continues a bit later, “Most of us can experience most of the teachings here and now in their fullness.” One of the questions he says we can ask is, “How am I experiencing this teaching now?” (pages 14-15)

When it comes to wise samadhi, I have often wondered if it was even possible for me to experience any sort of concentration. The striving mixed in with doubt certainly made that difficult! But this invitation of “how am I experiencing this teaching now” is interesting — how am I experiencing collected, gathered attention? Where is there already some ease, steadiness, or simplicity? When I approach my practice — and my life — with this lens, there is more samadhi available than I realize.

Here are a few reflection questions Gregory poses in his chapter on Right Samadhi:

  • What experience of easeful focus have I had while working?
  • What experience of easeful focus have I had while playing or engaged in an avocation?
  • What experiences have I had of relating to someone where we have become deeply calm?
  • What is our experience now of samadhi?
A Whole-Life Path, page 302

I often find this easeful focus is accessible when I spend time in nature, as Mary Oliver describes in this poem:


Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings: Poems (2012), As shared here:

May you find a door into your temple today.

With good wishes,