Before I knew anything about meditation or presence I had a moment of calmness and clarity twenty years ago that I remember to this day. I was invited to a friend’s house to do pottery painting. My friend had organised a two-hour session with a ceramist at her house, and we were a group of 6-8 people sitting around a table painting on plates. It was heaven. It was at a time when my children were small and there was always something that had to be done right in this minute all day long. And here I was sitting in calmness, painting the slice of an orange on a plate and having the time of my life.

For many years I thought that it was the act of painting that had given me so much pleasure. Later, as I came to meditate daily and read about spirituality, I understood what had happened. I had enjoyed the pottery session so much because I had been in the present moment. It really was a zen moment for me. I had been focusing on one thing and one thing only, moment by moment, which was the colouring of the plate in front of me. For two hours straight. I remember the other people around the table talking to each other, having fun and telling each other stories. I kept quiet. I was in bliss there with my plate.

How often do we allow ourselves deliberately the space to be fully in the moment? Not often enough. Most often we act as if we want to escape the present moment. We want to get this done first, and then this, and then once all of that is done, then we think we can have that moment of peace. But do we really get there?

I was reminded of my blissful pottery painting moment as I took a pottery class today. I enjoyed it so much! Once you give your full attention to one thing everything else disappears from your mind. Now I know pottery is not my only zen moment activity. I get the same sensation of focused attention when I meditate, do yoga self-practice, go into cold water or when I am in nature. Or any other activity that I really enjoy. What is happening in those moments is that I free my mind. Thoughts will continue to come but they stop taking up so much space. Actually, space is being created between each thought as presence arises. This is how we get to clarity and a peaceful mind.

Are you aware of what makes you feel this way? Ps. I am not talking about watching TV, sleeping or having a glass of wine… When are you awake and present?

Wishing you well! Annette X

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.