June 1, 2012 by
Categories: Relationships, Self

Similar to Buddhist thought, I’ve tried to practice in my life (more successful at times than others) the thought that life is a series of moments. Actually, I like to think of them as perfect moments. They’re not necessarily happy all the time–sometimes they are painful–but they are still perfect. It is paying attention to the present. To focus on the future is to feel worry; to focus on the past is to feel guilt or shame. To focus on the moment, is perfect.

I don’t mean perfect in terms of perfectionism–that pressure we put on ourselves to achieve that often ends in us never feeling good enough. No. I mean the perfect that is the exact opposite of this: to be complete. Whatever the moment brings, to allow it to be complete.

Image by mikha_el

For example, one moment I am with my kids. In this moment there are no bills, no pressures to write or publish, only the perfect moment that I am present with them to laugh, to play, to love, to cry, to experience their presence and they mine. Another moment I am with my friend, sitting with him in his pain, and there is no pressure to research, to write, to perform, only the perfect moment to experience, love, cry, laugh, and connect.

If only this were one of those things that were easier done than said. Sometimes I find my mind wandering to the past or to the future. Most of the time, this straying doesn’t last too long when I am with someone–I can gently redirect myself back to being fully present with them. It’s when I’m alone driving, walking, or just pondering, that sometimes I miss out on the perfect moment because I am too consumed with the past or future.

This isn’t to say that we should ignore the past or future–both can offer perspective. The geek inside of me can’t resist to quote Qui Gon Jin that we should be mindful of the past/future, but “not at the expense of the present.”

What does that mean to everyday practice? For you, it will be different, but for me, I am aware of pressures and responsibilities, and I make sure that time is devoted to making sure I am headed in the right direction. But when something really matters–the time with my wife, children, dear friends, or clients–those are the moments where there is very little expense spent in the past or future.

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