Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seize the Day!

“Looking for alternatives ­- better sights than we see, better sounds than we hear, a better mind than we have ­- keeps us from realizing that we could stand with pride in the middle of our life and realize it’s a sacred mandala.” ­ - Pema Chodron

Why is it so difficult to live in the present moment and to appreciate it for what it is? Instead we tend to find it more alluring to look into the future and fantasize about a time when we will be richer, thinner, or happier for a myriad of reasons. Or we get stuck focusing on past glories, or what would have, could have, should have been.
To live for any time that is not the present, is quite simply to be outside of reality. Sometimes, when things are really bad, looking to the future can pull you through. But doing it too often can only lead to more unsatisfactory feelings about one’s present experience.
Getting stuck in the past can be even worse: We imagine what might be if we had only done something different. How things would be better in our current situation, if only... But there is no way of knowing how things would have turned out if another choice had been made, because it’s impossible to see far enough down that path. Things could indeed be worse!
When we spend too much energy imagining better outcomes or dreaming about a perfect future, we lose sight of the true power we have in our present time to make the positive changes necessary to move forward in our lives. We certainly need to remember the lessons of the past, and set goals toward our future success but the key to getting the most out of our experiences lies in our ability to live consciously in the present.
Image: tantra_symbols. html


shanti said...

Hi Felicitas*
Great post here that speaks to the heart of the issue of "living in the moment" for all of us. Thank you for the reminder and also for sharing these thoughts here with us today my friend.
*with warmest wishes,

Felicitas said...

Hi Shanti,
It's always nice to meet like-minded souls. I thank you for your supportive comments.

Liara Covert said...

Pema Chodron's writing is timeless. She encourages a gradual self-disclosure or move toward increased self-honesty. I engage readers in a relevant dialogue in a book called Self-Disclosure: Changes from Within.

Mantras such as the one you present here are fascinating exercises in patience and mediation. For anyone who has not yet watched even part of the process of monks doing this with colored sand, it is a very memorable experience. Thanks for sharing such meaningful reflections.

Shadow said...

the past serves a purpose. the lessons we learn, what to go for, what to avoid. just as projecting into the future can hinder our living in today, so can living solely in the past... the quote is outstanding, by the way!

Felicitas said...

Hi Liara,
Pema Chodron's wisdom is a gift to all of us. And from what I have read on your blog, I know that your knowledge and insight on this topic is also considerable. I am sure your book is wonderful!

Felicitas said...

Hi Shadow,
It really is so much easier said than done and this is a lesson I have to work on daily! Thank goodness for all the wonderful teachers we have who remind us how to stay on track. And Pema Chodron's work is particularly inspiring to me.