When I ride on a roller coaster, I love to ride in the front seat. Everything seems to happen right now when you sit in the front. I put my arms up, of course, no holding on, no matter what the coaster does. Upside down, slammed to the side, you name it. It's just more fun to be on the leading edge of the experience, arms up, come what may.
I realized recently that this same attitude is very important to take with life in general. Especially with thoughts and feelings. We usually “ride” our thoughts and feelings, especially our unpleasant feelings, in the back seat, as far from the leading edge as possible. We hope that the unpleasant ones will simply go away, and if we sit far enough away from them, maybe they will. But they never do. All feelings will keep returning until they are experienced fully.
More and more I've had the experience of moving to the front seat and experiencing most of my feelings and thoughts head on. While I can feel everything more powerfully, and some things seem a little more frightening, the whole experience feels more alive and interesting. It feels almost invigorating. I feel like I'm on the leading edge of my life, and it feels good.
In many senses, being on the leading edge is what awakening is all about. We wake-up from riding on a roller coaster with our eyes closed, holding on for dear life, sure we are going to die a horrible death. And we awaken to the realization that the sun is out, the coaster is flying 90 miles per hour, we are strapped in and loving the ride, moment to moment, in the front seat.
credit: alex quintana
The leading edge. That sums it up. We are like surfers, riding the leading edge of the wave, hanging out on the front side. We may always be in the Now as Eckhart Tolle would say, but we can either live it hanging off the back end or riding the leading edge, wind in our faces, hair blowing, shouting, “Yeah baby!”