WE’RE SO LUCKY

“Honey, would you drop the kids off at school this morning? I’ve got a lot of shopping to do and errands to run.”

“Well, dear, I’ve got a pretty hectic day myself (sigh) …  OK I’ll do it.  But hurry, up kids!”

So Dad and his children jump into the car and they’re off. The busy father glances at his watch. “Why is traffic so slow this morning? Certainly people should drive safely, not speed, but this little old man in front of us must be sight-seeing! I’ll pass him as soon as I can… take a short cut maybe … Oh, no!!”

Wouldn’t you know it! The car approaches a railroad crossing just as the lights begin to flash and the safety gate comes down. Dad’s first thought: “Darn it! We’re going to be held up by a train and be late.”

So, as Dad is fuming in the front seat, anxiously tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, reviewing, in his mind, how to make up some time … a sweet, childish voice calls out from the backseat: “Daddy, Daddy, we’re so lucky! We get to watch the train go by!”

Source | Based on a story told by Jerry Braza, Moment by Moment
(Tuttle Publishing,1997) page 3

 CONSIDER THIS

Daddy’s take: an inconvenience, a delay. Child’s take: the joy of a new experience. The frustration and the excitement of seeing the train pass by: every occasion could become an adversity if we don’t welcome it as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Awareness of the present moment is always a wonderful reminder to stop and enjoy what the journey has to offer along the way. Often the “now”, called by some “the sacrament of the present moment” or “the Sacrament of the blessed present”, is filled with many gifts if we have the eyes to see, the ears to really listen.

WHERE AM I

There’s an old story told by Reb Chanoch Henich of Alexander.

There was once a fellow who was so very forgetful. Indeed, his memory was so short that when he awoke each morning, he could not remember where he had laid his clothes the night before. Things got so bad for him that he could not fall asleep, so great was his nervousness about finding his things upon waking. One evening, however, he hit on a great idea.Taking a pencil and paper, he wrote down exactly where he had placed each item of clothing. Placing his notes on the nightstand, by his bed, he quickly feel asleep, confident that he would find everything just perfectly in the morning.

And indeed he did. He woke up, took the notes form this nightstand, and read off each item in turn: pants—on chair back; and there they were. He put them on. ‘Shirt—on bed post; and there it was. He put it on. Hat—on desk; and there it sat. He placed it on his head. In a few minutes the fellow was completely dressed. But suddenly a great dread came upon him.

‘Yes, yes,’ he said aloud. ‘Here are my pants, my shirt, and my cap; but where am I?’ He looked and looked and looked, but he could find himself nowhere! Reb Chanoch Henich paused for a moment and then concluded ‘And that is how it is with each of us as well.”

Source | Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Hasidic Tales
(Skylight Paths, 2004) page 191

PONDER AND CONSIDER

What is this story getting at? Think about it: where am I? Where are you, indeed? I’m standing here! And you’re sitting in this chair, of course! It’s obvious, isn’t it? Or is it really that obvious? At some point, especially if I keep droning on, you may look at your watch and say ‘What time is it? When does this end, anyway? I wonder what there will be to eat when this is over?’ If you can catch yourself at that very moment, then where are you? Are you really still here? Or have you actually gotten lost in time? I don’t mean time-travelling, I mean: have you suddenly looked at your watch and mentally left this moment in favor of some other, future moment?

Similarly, you could be sitting here listening to me, and suddenly you remember that you forgot to return an important email from yesterday, or you remember a fight you had with a family member last week, and you’re feeling bad about it. Again, are you really here, or are you now lost in the past? In either case, have you actually left the chair? Physically, of course not. But in every other sense—you have left this place. You’re gone. You’re missing this moment, the only moment that’s really happening!

LIVING FULLY IN THE MOMENT

One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man  encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.

The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.

Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.

Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he didn’t have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine.

He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away, but they kept coming back.

At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding onto the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it.

With a tiger above, another below, and two rats continuing to gnaw on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.

Source | Derek LinThe Tao of Daily Life. Pages 10-11

PONDER AND CONSIDER

This delightful story, which for many may be unreal, pure nonsense and bordering on the absurd, is in fact and simply about living in the moment. Despite his perilous situation, the man chose not to let unrealized dangers paralyze him. He was able to seize the moment and savor it.

  • Are adversity, crisis and potential dangers robbing you of the precious gift of life?
  • Do you allow adversity, crisis and potential dangers to paralyze you and block you from living every single moment as best and as fully as possible?

 

TWO MONKS WALKING

Two monks were out for a walk one day

One older, the other much younger. They had both taken vows of silence and chastity. As they continued along the trail, they came to a creek where they saw a girl standing on the bank, she told them that she needed to get across. Without hesitation the older monk picked her up in his arms and waded across the creek with her. Once they both got to the other side, they went on their way.

An hour on down the trail the younger of the two broke his vow of silence,

“You know with our vow of chastity we are not to even touch a woman, let alone make eye contact with one!”

The older one, who had been admiring the beauty of the woods and the songs of the birds, replied, “Brother, I set her down on the bank an hour ago. You, however, are still carrying her.”

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Let go of your past and you will be able to enjoy the present in its fullness.