When we pay attention to our breath, we discover that there is a moment between the end of one breath and the beginning of the next when the breath is not moving. The rib-cage is still. The mind is still. Between the end of the in-breath and the beginning of the out-breath and also between the end of the out-breath and the beginning of the next in-breath there is stillness. Usually, we pay no attention to this stillness but when we are meditating there is an opportunity to notice this stillness, if only for a moment. When you pay attention to this moment between, it is like a break in the clouds that allows you to see a great distance. I call this the golden moment.
The Golden Moment
This golden moment can be found, not only in the moment between breathes but in any moment between. The moment between thoughts. The moment between sips of tea; between finishing any one act and starting the next. Even between typing one word and the next.
In this golden moment it is possible to catch a glimpse of something usually unseen. In the practice of meditation, it is possible to expand this moment, expand into this moment so that it seems to last for infinity. But only for a moment. After all, we still need to breathe.
What if we could see into that moment, even as we breathe. Expanding even the moment between thoughts so that we could see that golden moment even as we think. So that we could realize that it is always present and that breathing, thinking, doing are simply a thin veil which distracts us from noticing the infinite depth that lies always beneath us; that we can at first, see only when we stop.
When we practice to notice the golden moment, we learn to see that it is always present. It is present everywhere.
My dear friend and dharma sister Valerie Forstman gave a teisho last year On Time in which she spoke about Dogen Zenji’s instruction:
“Reflect now whether any being or any world is left out of this present moment …”
When we look deeply into this moment, we see everything there. Do not take my word for it. Look for yourself. What do you see?
A Few Words about Between
This word “between” can be misunderstood. You might think it means there are two, one on either side. Do not be mislead by this word. When we breathe and then breath again, we cannot find and separate the first and the second breath. They mingle in us and in the air so that we can find no separation. Thoughts and actions are also like this. They mingle into the moment so that indeed, nothing is left out. The moment between is all there is.