Lover of the Moment
In order to be utterly happy, the only thing necessary is to refrain from comparing this moment with other moments in the past, which I often did not fully enjoy because I was comparing them with other moments of the future.—André Gide
Living in the present unburdens you. Don’t worry too much. You can envision and acknowledge your life’s complexity but do so in the present, so you do not lose the vitality of life. Look around. See the people, the scene, sense the warmth of your body, feel the mood and your pulsing heart. If you were in danger of losing your life, what wouldn’t you give for a moment like this? Take a breath. Treasure it. Smile.
Become a lover of the moment. France, known for its leisurely meals, has resisted fast food and celebrates the Slow Food Movement. Like the song, “I want a lover with a slow hand and an easy touch,” you can be a lover of the present. This doesn’t mean that now can’t include speed, confusion, ambition, running, creative competition, and joyful abandon. It can. Now includes it all.
To open your senses and your heart, however, it does help to slow down. One of the poets in my neighborhood, Barbara Ruth, explains, “I once walked the six miles from my house to Kent Lake in less than four hours, but that wasn’t my best time. My personal best is eight hours and fifteen minutes. That includes time resting with a lizard sunning on the rocks; writing down a dream remembered starting at Mt. Barnabe; listening to woodpecker knock herself against the tree that harbors osprey’s nest.”
Living here and now brings more beauty and mystery. Watch how children play. They know they will be called home, yet they give themselves fully to their adventures. You too will be called, as we all will. But for now, why not live fully awake? Fully inhabiting the present, you can plant seeds for a future that will unfold them in due season.
Living now frees your heart to transform all you touch. As William Butler Yeats writes, when you are fully present “others live a clearer, perhaps even fiercer life because of it.” Each moment of presence is an act of courage. It may bring you tears and a tender heart. And yet, living in the present with all its joys and sorrows offers you a precious gift, the benevolence of being at home in this mysterious universe.
The presence of eternity is right where you are. Each step, each word, each breath is an invitation. Give yourself the gift of silence, of listening. Go out into the woods, the mountains, walk along a meandering stream or the ever-changing sea. Look closely at a hundred kinds of steady, leafing trees, follow the delicate flight of birds, marvel at the strange gait of human bipeds, listen for the laughter of children. When you are in difficulty, remember the world beckons to you with a bigger story. It invites you to vastness and freedom.
This excerpt is taken from No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are