How long will we decide to bare the burden of under-appreciation while striving for a moment which will forever remain illusive? How much of our lives have we let pass us by because choices from our past left us fearful of their repetition, and equally, how much have we missed because we were living mentally in some distant time, which is not guaranteed?
Three questions, each with the same answer. They all share a common trait of not being present oriented, that is to say, with each situation, none of the three take into account the only thing we can truly quantify, the single and precious moment we are in.
Under-appreciation: a lack of gratitude for what is in front of us, regardless of how much or how little. From career standing to relationship status, from financial bracket to the mode of transportation we call our own, from our newest forms of tech to our social status, with each element we consider, there is often a moment of comparison. Comparison between ourselves and others or ourselves now and who we would prefer to be.
This sense of inferiority or lack strips us from our present sense of enjoyment. For what surrounds us now and what lies within us today, can never be compared to anything else. To compare our blessings to those of another is akin to comparing water to ice, these are two forms of the same whole. Lets take our occupation, we may be; a designer, a nutritionist, a web developer, an architect, a botanist, a teacher, an administrative assistant or a software engineer.
Each of these hold within them countless blessings that are frequently overlooked. The food which nourishes us, the homes that shelter us, the vehicles that transport us, the cloths that cover us, the books that educate us, the martial arts classes that strengthen us and the computers that connect us to family and friends, all derive from our occupation. Yet there are numerous thoughts of lack that we constantly repeat.
Not having what has captured your attention or not identifying with a recent trend, is not the same as having nothing. This blatant disregard for all that surrounds us and loss of gratitude, speaks of our lack of discipline and discretion, not our perceived luck of the draw. To truly see, possibly for the first time since childhood, all the wonders which make our life so much more magical, is to appreciate the countless things which are our own gifts in life.
Sometimes this vision may lead us to tears, because we may wonder how it was we disregarded such bounty. Even with this understanding, forgetting what surrounds us now, is not the only trait that robs us of the gentle happiness residing in the present moment, what about our regrets of the past?
Fear of the past: When we are bound by perceived mistakes and choices of yesterday we again remove ourselves from the only moment which we truly live in, the present. It is easy to be bound by a fear of repetition, hoping that what we chose or what affected us, we never have to experience again. We will do whatever it takes to distance ourselves from that experience, but by using this as a fuel to propel us, we are inadvertently allowing ourselves to be chased by a predator who constantly keeps us on edge.
We do not have a moment to rest because we are always running, always attempting to outsmart our pursuer, always remaining vigilant so that we do not get struck down once more. But why do we constantly flee from an imaginary threat? Why do we allow ourselves to become a victim?
Believing that we must forcefully act in the opposite ways of yesterday, may give us a sense of separation, allowing us to comfortably move forward with ourselves and truly experience the sense of ease and happiness we may desire. Yet, the forceful nature of this escape only makes our fleeing journey more real. If we force ourselves to be different than yesterday, then we are simply acting.If we become better, we are evolving.
Our decisions of the past can no longer determine our destiny because those choices were made and have long faded into a time forgotten by all but us. We keep the predator alive and we constantly run from something we chose to create, not by the choice once made, but by the decisions we continue to make! Our past does not determine our destiny, our choices we make each moment create our adventure.
We are the traveller on our journey and each part of the story, we write. If we continue to write about a victim in hiding then how will we ever become the hero we want to be? Only through a present understanding of the path we walk today, can we move off the path we chose yesterday. But what about our path of tomorrow?
An uncertain time: Tomorrow is not guaranteed. How can a moment that will never come, ever be experienced? This is not to say that we should not have a goal to aim for and a mission or purpose on our lively journey, no, quite the opposite. This means that whatever we envision for ourselves tomorrow, we must become today.
The degree/diploma, the relationship experience, the amount of public presentations we give, the amount of muscle we build, the home we want to buy, the countries we want to visit and the experiences we want to have, will only come to pass when we become the person who already identifies with these experiences. These things do not come to us merely from idle want, they become a part of us when we become the person who is associated with the greatness we seek. We do not get what we want, we get what we are.
If you want to be financially wealthy, play a lottery and then become upset because you did not win the jackpot, it is because you have not yet become an individual who understands how to build wealth. If you develop yourself in such a way that you understand the ways to wealth are through; discipline, savings, controlling expenses, not seeking excess and not easily being persuaded by those who would attempt to encourage you to make sound investments, when they themselves have not experienced wealth, then wealth itself will effortlessly come to you.
If you have developed the inverse habit of excess spending, always having a need for the newest things, not controlling your expenses and not developing the habit of saving, then wealth will constantly elude you. This is not to say you will never attain wealth, this states that you get what you want by first becoming the person who understands how to build wealth, not the gambler nor the excessive spender.
Our journey does not have to be laborious without cause, but it will require great effort. Our journey does not have to be devoid of pleasure, but it will require discipline and sacrifice. Our adventure need not be draining, but it will have valleys and peaks. Our adventure need not begin tomorrow because it can only start today. There is no yesterday for it has long vanished. There is no tomorrow for it is waiting to be created. All that remains is all that is. This very moment, as we inhale and exhale, is all that ever will be. For the future is simply a series of present moments stacked on top of each other and forever shall it remain.
Will you become today what you might be, so that what you seek later will decide to find you now?
If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
– Lao Tzu