… is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
Easy for him to say --- sitting around, meditating for days and getting enlightened under that Bodhi Tree!
Why is it that the best teachers, avatars, and saintly people that I look up to always seem to “get something” that generally seems to allude me?!
Now, I certainly know from all of my spiritual readings that worrying is about the LEAST spiritual activity you can imagine…that God and happiness is found in the present moment… that fear of the future is a waste of time…and that dredging up the past and -- even worse yet -- regretting what you did or didn’t do twenty years ago is a recipe for emotional disaster. But that hardly stops me from imagining all the coulda’s, woulda’s, and shoulda’s that can plague my weary, but active mind.
In fact, once upon a time -- and particularly during my many years of psychotherapy -- I actually thought that all denial was self-destructive and should be systematically routed out in the ongoing struggle for honest self-awareness and inner growth.
Now I believe something totally different -- that life can be sweet and pleasant without dredging up every past pain, resentment, hurt, and repressed memory. Our perceptions and feelings are often ours alone…and perceptions and feelings are not necessarily facts. On the other hand, we don’t have to pretend that hurtful events didn’t occur; we just have to deny that any past thought, person, event, place or thing has permanently injured us or can hold us back.
These days, when I start going down that very dangerous path of either thinking that every single thing I did in the past was wrong or that every single thing that could possibly happen to me in the future is going to be a disaster, I try to bring myself up short. (I think the shrinks call this “catastrophizing” and I can be the Queen Bee of catastrophe thinking, let me tell you!)
I literally snap myself out of a disaster mentality by one of four things: reading an uplifting quote, talking to a friend, helping somebody else out or watering my garden. How so, the latter?
Well, once again, the Buddha shares with us some of his astounding wisdom in the following quote:
“If we could see the miracle of a singleflower, our whole life would change.”
That’s good enough for me…seeking out the beauty of the blooms on a cherry blossom tree, bearing witness to the singularity of a rose’s petal, or simply watering my impatiens plants or geraniums yanks me out of the past or the future and plops me right into the now of my backyard…not a bad place to hang out, by the way.