Live in the Moment (part 2)

posted May 19, 2012, 8:37 AM by Tai Jin   [ updated May 19, 2012, 8:57 AM ]
Previously, we talked about living in the moment, and how we tend to put things off until later what we can actually do today. Perhaps it is human nature to be selective about these things. We tend to want instant gratification, yet when it comes to doing things for others we tend to put it off for later. So on the one hand, we prefer to live in the moment of instant gratification, and on the other hand we procrastinate into the future what we probably should be doing today. Therefore, it's reasonable to say that we tend to live in the moment for ourselves and not for others. In other words, we tend to be selfish.

So given that we tend to be selfish, then it stands to reason that our behavior changes based on selfish motivations. Have we ever considered the possibility that we may not live until tomorrow? Sometimes even the threat of this happening may not be enough to change our ways. However, in some cases it does awaken us from our stupor, and we realize that there are more important matters in life than the ones we are currently emphasizing or pursuing. The short talk in this video is one man's experience that changed his view on what really matters in life:
When faced with the harsh reality that we may die soon, we tend to reflect on our lives and wonder about all the things that we could have done but didn't do (or did but should not have done), or all the things that we wanted to do and apparently won't have the chance to do. These are regrets. Why do we regret? It is because we've spent our lives doing the things that are not really important and meaningful while neglecting to do the things that really matter.

Fortunately for him and the other passengers, they all lived through the harrowing experience. But what is most important is that the experience changed this man's life (and we hope that it changed all the other peoples' lives as well).

The first thing he learned was that everything can change in an instant: all the things he wanted to do, the experiences he wanted to have, the people he wanted to reach out to, the fences he wanted to mend--all of these things would go unfulfilled. From this, he realized that he can no longer postpone anything in life, that he has a sense of urgency and purpose in life.

The second thing he learned was regretting that he let his ego get into the way of his humanity, in wasting all that time on things that really didn't matter with the people that really did matter. In reflecting on the relationships with his family and friends, he decided to let go of all the negative energy in his life, to stop arguing and fighting with his wife, by not wanting to be right, but choosing to be happy.

The third thing he learned was that he didn't really fear dying, but rather he felt sadness and sorrow that he would never be able to see his children grow up. Later on he realized that above all, he wanted to be a great parent to his children. He was grateful for having been given the gift of life that day, of being able to see into the future and then to return and live his life differently as a result.

He challenges all of us to ponder how we would change our lives if we were faced with a similar situation. Most people do not change unless they are faced with such an event, but must we always be faced with impending loss or death before we realize the true meaning of life? Why wait until we are in a life and death situation before we realize what is important, what really matters in life? Why not do that now, before it is too late? If we weren't so selfish, if we didn't let our ego get in the way then we wouldn't need such an event to change our lives.

The people on that plane were fortunate, but there are many other examples of people who may have had the same awakening but never got the chance to change their lives. So we should be grateful that we are not faced with impending death, that we can still change our lives for the better because we want to. We must let go of our ego and selfishness, let go of all the things that do not matter, and do all the things that really matter. We must manifest our true heart, be true to our humanity, our conscience, and our Buddha Nature. If we can make this change in our lives then rather than being selfish and unhappy, we can be selfless and happy. But don't wait until tomorrow, do it now, live in the moment.
Comments