Nature's creations don't attach to the past or worry about the future. Her plants and animals live in the present moment - in flow and acting from instinct. So why do we find it so hard when, as a creation of nature, this is our natural state?
Living in the present seems a lesson I'm presented with over and over again here in Peru. I don't know how long this plant medicine work will take - when I'll next be in diet, or even how long each diet will take. I can't plan anything beyond the next day, and even that might change. So I'm taught to stop worrying about the future and let go of the n¬eed to plan. To be in the moment, to be in flow. To trust in the process, in myself, and in Spirit. The more I do, the more things do work out, and the less energy I waste worrying.
I've also had a change in mindset while here. Initially I wanted to get through all this as quickly as possible so I can go back home to my loved ones and my work. But in doing so, I'm not giving my full attention to the lessons and not opening fully to the work. So I try to be in the moment and just let go - it's about the journey, not the destination.
This work also strips away attachment to the past. I've had to let go of my grief and pain - from family, situations, relationships and people that have passed on, or are no longer in my life. And to let go of to the good times too, otherwise you're just as stuck in the past.
I don't actually understand most of what is happening during this process. In fact, the more diets I do, the less I understand what's going on, but the more I'm ok with that. And so I'm also learning to let go of the need to understand. To stop thinking and just be present – the understanding will come when it's time.
The rational, thinking mind can only process a limited amount of data at a time, and with a narrow focus – basically using the higher cognitive functions of the brain. The feeling, intuitive mind on the other hand can process vast amounts of data using all of the brain and the body simultaneously. Ever thought about something over and over again and just gone round in circles? Then you go for a walk and let your subconscious work on it, and in a flash, the answer comes to you. That's not to say the rational mind isn't useful at times, it is, but ultimately it's our feelings, not our thoughts, which bring us to a decision. This unthinking, feeling mind connects us to our subconscious and allows inspiration and intuitive flashes to shine through.
In a word - programming.
In our society, we're taught from a young age to think rationally, and without emotion because emotions are a weakness and prone to change. We're taught to plan for the future – for a career, a house and family, for retirement. So we slave away, supressing our desires, all for a promise of some future reward or stability.
We're taught of the need to consciously understand ourselves and our environment - to control our environment and situation out of fear. The media gives us this fear: the world is a big unknown - a scary, dangerous place with limited resources. We'd better give over our power to the authorities to keep us safe, and then to compete ruthlessly for what scraps are left. We're taught to obey and accept what we're told by ‘experts' rather than questioning everything and deciding for ourselves.
Our school systems destroy the love of learning, and instead teach us to study to pass the exams. To study subjects that will get us a high paying job or the highest marks possible. To focus on the destination, rather than enjoy the journey. Physical activity and sport have become about obtaining some goal too - to win the game, to be the best or the fasted, to obtain some higher rank. What happened to doing things for the sheer joy of them? To lose yourself in flow and just play.
Similarly we're taught to love drama. We see it in stories, TV, the media. We are in love with our pain and discuss it endlessly, for who would we be without it? We're told to hang onto those good memories too; for they are fleeting and life is toil and suffering. And so we do, and with each attachment, a little piece of ourselves is left behind.
Then there's the programming we have learnt from our parents, and they from their parents – it's so ingrained we don't even realise it. Why do we supress ourselves and try so hard to please others, to protect their feelings? To avoid conflict when instead it just eats away at us inside? All of it is programming, and all of it takes us away from our true nature – beings of love and light, creating in the present moment for the sheer joy of it.