Are you tired of people suggesting you “live in the moment”, “be present”, or “stop to smell the roses”?
Sorry – I might be one of them!
Apologies for that. The intention however is that we all learn together and reminders are always helpful. I seem to forget each time ‘life takes over’. For example, I recall at times as I am driving, I am so absorbed in listening to what is on the radio, or my own thoughts that I have no idea how I reached my destination. It is as if life is on auto-pilot. This is certainly not being present. If you pay close enough attention, you will notice that you spend an unbelievable amount of time thinking about something other than the present moment. Research has found that on average our minds wander about 47% of the time!
We are told life is a process not a destination so that the more we focus on our destination, the more we push our happiness and satisfaction into the future. The more we focus on the process, the surroundings, the easier it is to see the joy and satisfaction in the work we are doing today because we have to understand that what we are doing now will ultimately get us to where we want to go.
Does this require patience? Yup!
Does it require commitment? Absolutely.
Is this easy? Nope!
The present moment matters because it’s the only place where you can do the work that will ever allow you to ever achieve your goals.
Examining ourselves, it is easy to recognize how absorbed we are in what we are doing – cooking, cleaning, working, resting, eating? Certainly, the example above of me driving is not the type of absorption I am talking about. It’s the complete opposite. I am very passionate about teaching and art – in either situation, I experience the joy of ‘Now’. The moments I spend in these two occupations bring meaning to life for me because I don’t WANT anything else but to be there.
But you may ask, surely desires and goals are a natural part of being human?
Sure, they are, but have you ever noticed a commonality among them all? We mostly live our lives fixating on the future, for salvation, because we think our present circumstances aren’t good enough. This is the perpetual cycle we find ourselves in. We pursue our desires and goals thinking that they will give us some lasting satisfaction but once we get them we find there is more to achieve. There has to be a way of finding satisfaction today, now, in this moment.
Setting goals for ourselves and determining how to achieve them is critical to self-improvement and realizing our potential, but we do need to be careful that we don’t shortchange ourselves of happiness by always wanting to be like someone or get something else. The constant cycle of wanting to be somewhere else robs us of our inner stillness.
In the beginning we have to pull ourselves in the present. How? Simran is the tool that we have been graciously guided towards. Practice being in the ‘sadh-hun’ – the present as Bauji puts it and pay particular attention to your thoughts– are you thinking of what you don’t have- because that is what you are attracting. When we are in sangat, we get an opportunity to practice gratitude, love and grace follows in the form of a surreal feeling of ‘all is well’.
Actually, all is well now! NOW!
DHAN GURU NANAK!
DHAN GURU NANAK!
DHAN DHAN DHAN SADH JAN!