ometimes I like to sneak up on squirrels, just to see how close
I can get before they run up a tree. During autumn, there is
the added challenge of being quiet amongst the fallen leaves.
To be very, very quiet, I need to be completely awake in
Being awake in the moment is difficult when I am not
awake to my emotions. Impatience, excitement, pride, anxiety—these are all emotions I may feel when sneaking up on a
squirrel. If I’m not aware of them, my mind is distracted, and
the leaves are crunching louder than squeak toys.
Take, for example, the story of the four monks who, as
part of their awareness practice, took a vow to be silent for the
day. They had been successful and were walking back to their
cabin in the dark. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew one of the
monk’s lanterns out. “My light went out,” he exclaimed. “Hey,
be quiet!” said the second monk. The third monk scolded
them, “You two idiots, now you’ve ruined it for the rest of us.”
Then the fourth monk declared, “Ha! I’m the only one who
hasn’t talked yet.” The emotions of surprise, irritation, contempt, and pride had snuck up on the day of silence.