I feel almost like I'm imagining it, but I really do seem more able to live in the moment now. I'm a couple months shy of a year since I began my practice in earnest, but there seem to be some graspable changes.
The first indicator should have been months ago, when I found it easier to do things I didn't want to do or that I normally put off for later. I still struggle, but that little voice in my head telling me to put it off has gotten quieter. Sometimes I don't hear it, but another voices cheers me on for doing it so I'm still not acting with equanimity.
Instead, the point where I really noticed was when sitting for 45 minutes one morning, a time that a mere few weeks ago would have seemed unthinkable, felt no different than the 10 minutes that I sat later on that day. It no longer felt like I was waiting for it to end as if I were serving time.
Some of this I attribute to my body relaxing into sitting with appropriate posture but whether this is a cause or effect is unclear since I've noticed my focus on the moment feeling sharper and clearer. Each moment has an odd weight or groundedness to it, somehow more real as if a my glasses were fogged and they've cleared a little. The insubstantial still has its own weight, but there is a bolder line drawn between them.
Listening to people has become more intense and I am not easily distracted by thoughts not related to the conversation. The same goes for reading. When I realize I've strayed it's a very crisp awakening back to the present, though.
My Aikido shows improvement in focus and intensity of intention and body awareness. I seem to have found myself as the dojo poster child for the benefits of zazen in Aikido.
All of this seems very different than I remember but how am I to compare who I am now and how I see things with the past to ever know for sure?
Everything seems to have gained an odd immediacy yet I'm more relaxed in dealing with it. Any anxiety I feel, while rare now, seems natural for the situation and doesn't run my mind around but instead serves to boost my focus just a little. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's something I want to do or want to avoid, as soon as I've plunged into doing it, it feels right somehow.
I wonder what currently unimaginable changes await me as I wait patiently watching each moment come and go, doing what I can to make the best of each moment.