Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lessons on the Way to Old Age: Be Here, Be Now

Now is the only time, here is the only place.  
Everything else is nothing more than a memory or a promise.

All too often we live in the past or in the future.  We are everywhere else but here.  We fail to realize that life happens here, now.  While it is prudent to prepare for the future, what we do here and now determines the kind of future we will have. 

In Kriya Yoga, one of the observances (virtues to cultivate) is known as Santosha, meaning contentment.  We are asked to be content when our lives are going well and just as content when our lives are going down the tubes. While we may not have control over things that happen to us, we do have control over our attitude and our responses. We are free to choose our responses.  We experience contentment only in the present moment, never in the past or the future.

Dwelling in the past drains energy; dwelling in the future lends itself to procrastination.  Sometimes, we fall in the trap of perceiving or judging the other person from our negative experience of them in the past such that we fail to see the good or the joy we can have with them now.  We fall in the trap of clinging to hurt, guilt and resentment.  Thinking someone had it to give or take away, we fail to nurture ourselves. Often, we postpone enjoyment to some future, more convenient or more affordable time and that opportune moment just never comes. 

We can experience something only once.  Now, quickly turns to the past and thus no two experiences can ever be the same.  Buddhists know this as impermanence.  

So be here now.  Be joyful in the moment.  Be confident that life is good.  Even in the most dire circumstance, there is always something to be grateful for.  Love like there is no tomorrow.

Author's Note:  This is the first of a series of this blog category titled: Lessons on the Way to Old Age. These are lessons, sometimes painfully but more often joyfully, learned througout my life, many of which I could have learned in my youth had I not been so inattentive and hard headed.  Hopefully someone will find some value in them.

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