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Column: The Spiritual Realist

Raymond Siew

The Universe in the Moment

by Raymond Siew

Being in the moment. Smelling the roses and being aware of all around us. There is nothing but the MOMENT. The expansion of consciousness, to leave our worries behind.

The Universe in the Moment

Question? Is that achievable? Yes. But except for only the briefest spell if both our objective and subjective realities tell us there is a problem we have not dealt with. When we are in a bad relationship. When our business, life, is falling apart. And we are busy running away from our problems.

An aside: I have mentioned in my Inner Child work that meditation can be a dangerous tool if it is used as a means to run away from reality. The proper use, to me, is for the unveiling of reality - as a tool to aid that quest, as a tool to solve life's problems.
And if you apply yourself to solving those problems, you will see the universe opening up. Let's see how...

But before that, let's re-examine why we want to be in the moment — When we are IN the moment, the past is behind us and the future will unfold depending on how we deal with the moment. And this implies that there is more than just "surrendering" to the moment. Isn't there also UNDERSTANDING the moment before we can deal with it? Do we not need to apply everything we know that is relevant to the moment? (See article "Thinking with Integrity")

I have also argued in my work - "Will the Real Inner Child Please Stand Up?" - that fear takes us from the moment. Fear takes us into ourselves. Fear puts us in the "fight or flight" mode. It resists alternative responses. In particular, I mentioned "imagined fears" which come from the inner child. And I believe that if it is not dealt with, we cannot be IN the moment — In the grip of fear, there is no other, there is only ourselves. And if being in the moment means harmony with what is inside and outside of us, with our surroundings, with the people around us, with the universe, then we have "failed" before we even started.

So how does the universe open up in the moment? Since I have used chess as an example previously, I'll continue to use it to illustrate what I mean. I hope you will be able to extrapolate from this example and apply it to life, to business.

The Illusive One Point

Chess is a game that is played one move at a time. A game played in the moment. It requires technical understanding of the game. It requires understanding of strategy and tactics. It also requires understanding of the limitations and expansiveness of the board and its pieces. And so, it requires judgement. All these things are learned over time, but there is more.

Allow me to use my son, Mark, as an example. At the age of 12 he came close to being the State champion for all age categories (including the senior team). He was the front-runner after the first day, but crashed in the second.

For the first year he was the state's under-12 champ and 33rd nationally. Last year, he was 15th nationally. This year, he came 14th with still another National championship in May.

Note: It has been said that Mark is especially talented. I think he is talented but then there are so many who are talented in their own way. What I have seen in my years on the chess circuit is many talented kids (some maybe even more so than Mark) who have crashed. Perhaps Mark's unique advantage is his growing ability to face his fears, and a healthy perception of his self-worth apart from chess. I hope I played a small part in that. I also hope that you will remember your own uniqueness as you read this - and just put yourself in his place. Yes, you.
This has been my observation as Mark's coach — He has consistently been a half point away from crossing the top 10, and a point away from being in the top 4 to represent the country. In all our post-mortems after the tournaments, we see a game he lost or drew not from a lack in technical knowledge. Usually, the loss is attributable to a glitch in thinking, a loss in concentration, impatience, over-confidence, lack of confidence, etc.

So in search of this illusive one point, we began to focus on cultivating his patience, concentration, etc. — And we discovered that to develop these virtues, the underlying factor was always FEAR and its counterpart, EGO.

Fear causes him to be impatient; fear shuts down his ability to apply all the lessons he derived from his training; fear shuts down his concentration, causing him to drop the ball — It is not easy to remember everything you know. There is tension in holding all that knowledge, and the skill to do so is slowly developed. The key to doing so lies in the management of fear, understanding its genesis. Fear causes internal stress and, coupled with the external stresses of competition, it creates a breakdown. Since external stresses are to a large extent beyond our control, the emphasis of training is on dealing with the internal stresses. The stresses caused by our imagination, our negative self talk.

My point is this: It is a PROCESS — A process in learning, of distinguishing real from imagined fears. Chess is a game played in the moment. That moment can only be understood and appreciated when we experience and understand ALL that the moment brings. All relevant factors, and not ones in our imaginings. The test is in reality, the test is in results.

So from tournament to tournament, the understanding of that moment deepens, changes. It cannot be done if we run away from our fears. And so the universe opens up, and we begin to see things as they are, as they are meant to be. Hence, Mark's understanding of the moment - as he makes his first move, as he prepares his mind - is now different.

My point is also this: The universe opens up when you DO. As Master Yoda says, "Do or do not. There is no try." — Take any one thing in your life and strive to be the best that you can be in it. Don't worry about others, don't worry about not being better than any other. Just be the best that YOU can be... and that is enough.

Do this, and the universe will open for you. Learn gratitude, patience, discipline, thinking skills, etc. All that will be available to you if you do this one thing. And success breeds success.

Do not do the "geographical", giving up halfway and then "trying" something else. Apply yourself to that one thing and you will succeed. Then try something else. The laws of attraction. It's never too late to DO.

What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence
of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.

~ Sigmund Freud ~

We are still chasing that one point... but in the journey, a whole universe has opened up for us. How different my own perception of that one point has changed from when I first attempted coaching in chess. It seemed so simple at first.

It has also deepened my appreciation of the rose, its deep struggle to retain its beauty in the trials of nature.

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About the author:
Raymond Siew is the CEO and business development strategist for eMasters as well as her two online publications: It's My Life! (lifestyle ezine) and in-the-loop (business ezine). eMasters' core business is Design, Advertising & Promotions — Visit to view eMasters' suite of products & services, or to read Raymond's bio.

About It's My Life! content: All content on It's My Life! belongs exclusively to eMasters and may not be reproduced or reprinted in any manner without permission from eMasters. If you wish to use any of our content, please contact us.

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