Cat tail willows

What It’s Like

On one of our walks around campus a few years ago my friend Dan shared some Buddhist phrases that he uses as mantras. First: “Everything changes. Everything’s connected. Pay attention.” And second: “Right now, it’s like this.”

Those stuck with me and I made some slight adjustments to make them more singable, ending up with:

Everything’s connected
Everything’s changing
So pay attention
This is what it’s like right now

After a little searching, I discovered that the first three lines can be attributed to poet Jane Hirshfield, who wrote, “Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.”

The last line seems to come from a Buddhist monk named Ajahn Sumedho, who advises us “to see things the way that they actually are rather than the way that we want or don’t want them to be (“Right now, it’s like this…”).”

Gary Sanders’ hands

I like the way singing these lines brings me back to the present, focussing me with a sense of curiosity and wonder on how much is happening at this moment. I hope I’ve made the song catchy enough to stick in your head and bend your attention for a second to the interconnectedness of things.

The video of tall grass with cattails in the wind comes from a lovely city park we stumbled upon one spring day in Boston. I hope you can get lost in the beauty of the wind through the grass and trees.

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I'm j and I play: musician, web guy, family man.

12 thoughts on “What It’s Like”

  1. J – I love this! All we are promised is this moment is another version. Beautiful reminder.

    Seeing you consistently create, grow, and post is inspiring. Thank you for sharing you.

  2. Wow, three times in the last 24 hours Scott and I have been given imagery that “mankind is like grass”. and here it is again! Jason, you don’t know him but a dear young friend who has been fighting leukemia for three years was given the news this week that nothing more can be done for him, and that it is time to prepare for death. And God has directed us over and over to Isaiah 40:8-“the grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of our God stands forever”. As we have walked through this valley with our friend, we have been reminded often of the importance of appreciating each moment for what it is, and “paying attention”. Even though our lives are like grass, they are precious in the sight of God.

  3. Wow, indeed! Thank you so much for letting me know how I played a little part in sharing this message that seems to be popping up all around you. Amen.

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