Live in the Moment

posted May 18, 2012, 9:09 AM by Tai Jin   [ updated Nov 10, 2014, 6:48 PM by Tai Jin ]
We hear it said that we should live in the moment. What does that mean? It is the same as the old adage, "seize the day." Sometimes we say, "I'll get around to doing it tomorrow." Perhaps 99% of the time, this may turn out to be fine, but for that 1% of the time, tomorrow may never come. For all the planning that we do, both our karma and Nature can ruin our plans. Sometimes these setbacks are only temporary, and we can adjust our plans accordingly. But many times, these setbacks are permanent and no matter what, we will never be able to achieve what we had planned to do. Here is a short video that very poignantly illustrates this outcome:
Although the boy is sometimes ungrateful to and unappreciative of his mother, he does wish that some day he can do something for her. The mother asks when she might be able to eat a meal that her son has cooked for her. The son tells his mother that he will cook for her when she is older. Just as we were saying before, sometimes tomorrow may never come and the opportunity has never come to pass. This is one of those times.

A common human fallacy is that we do not cherish the moment. Instead, we spend way too much time either living in the past or dreaming of/in the future, or both. The past has been lost forever, and it is counterproductive to dwell in it (however, we should definitely learn from the past). The future is uncertain and unpredictable, especially as it relates to life. What has not yet transpired is always subject to change (sometimes tragic and permanent change). Therefore, we should not dwell in the future either.

That being said, we do, however, want to set goals and aspirations for ourselves. Such goals and aspirations are for things that we may not be able to do or achieve right away. However, in the case of the boy in the video, he did not have to wait until his mother was older for him to show his love by cooking for her. He could have started doing that right away.

So another way of saying all this is: do not procrastinate, do not put off until tomorrow what we can do today. This is especially true for younger people who think that they have all the time in the world, that there will always be a tomorrow. Even if we are fortunate enough to live a long life, our loved ones may not be so fortunate. Certainly, when we are older, we have to face the reality that we will have less time left to do the things that are most important and meaningful. We can either attain fulfillment right now or put it off into the future, leaving the door open for disappointment and regret.

The story in the video uses filial piety (love and respect for our parents) to illustrate this point. Children and teenagers can learn to care for their parents and loved ones, just as these youth caregivers do. These youth, as a result of caring for their parents and loved ones, live a more gratifying, meaningful, and fulfilling life. So cherish the moment, seize the moment, and live in the moment. Don't think about the past, and don't worry about the future. All we have is right now, in the current moment.
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