Our lives today, no matter where we live or what our situation may be, are often focused on “what’s coming.” We get tied up with schedules that tell us of obligations to be fulfilled, errands to run, people to call, meetings to attend, and on and on in a seemingly endless round of preoccupation with the next hour, day, week, month, year. All of this is part of living. Yet, in the process of “filling time,” we lose sight of the significance of the present moment. Our minds can’t really be “here” if they’re constantly engaged in getting “there.”
When we are always rushing around and skimming life’s surface, it can happen that as years pass we question the value of our lives, whether they have been truly useful or whether they have lacked meaning because we’ve not truly lived in the moment. We may look around at others and think the same of those whose lives we see as marked by disappointments, sadness, even remorse, because they appear to be wasted in a frenzy of expendable activity.
My friend and colleague of many years, the late Ruth Tabrah, talked of the importance of the ‘now’ in a small volume published posthumously, titled, “Just Live! On Becoming Buddhist.” In the chapter “A Matter of Choice,” she spoke of listening “with keen interest and an open mind to Reverend Kuriyama when I visited his temple in Nogata, Japan…” and then she wrote:
“‘No one would say that my life has real value,’ he told us. ‘For it is a life
filled with wasted time and effort, a life of constant regrets. Yet, suddenly
we come to realize that even such a life is not wasted and that it has a definite
significance. It begins when we give care and concern to the now which I live
at this very moment. True life and true realization are found in the now.’”
Shin people have every good cause to be living in the ‘now,’ as their lives are meant to be natural, not strained, free of the frenzy of self-power striving, and in day-to-day terms, free of feeling valueless and even lost, living in a constant cloud of commotion and busyness.
Ruth went on to say:
“The person who lives this moment of ‘now,’ entrusting in the Buddha, lives
life without any impasse, no dead-end. Such a person is called the person of
complete freedom, whose life is intimately bound with true and real life, open
and endlessly unfolding.”
Consider giving yourself more ‘now’ time. As you do this, hopefully you’ll feel less and less like an overstretched elastic band from all your ‘tomorrow’ commitments. And as you discover the importance of ‘now’ to your peace of mind, you’ll also see there is no real “wasted time and effort,” that your life truly has meaning and value.
Thanks for visiting.
Gassho _/_ Al Bloom
p.s. As always, feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think.