Yesterday felt like altogether too much before I even got out of bed, and then a small voice inside said, “Just this minute.” As in, live only this minute that you are actually experiencing right now.
I often worry about whether I’ll have time to do everything in the evening as I’m packing my lunch at 7 a.m. Sometimes, to bring myself back to the present, I focus on why I’m here, but that doesn’t always work that well.
I’m not sure why is a useful question. It puts us directly into figuring-it-out mode, and no matter what answer we come up with, we can then evaluate ourselves on the basis of that answer. But evaluation is too limited to be our main tool in this life. Our existence is much richer than reason will allow.
It’s almost impossible to conclude we are an incredible success or a massive failure in a minute, regardless of what criteria we’ve chosen. Perhaps this is why wisdom traditions recommend staying present—it keeps us from thinking life is about something other than living.
“Being present” could answer the question, how do I live my life? Or how do I life my life most fully?
When making a decision, Jim Finley recommends asking the question, all things considered, what’s the most loving thing I can do right now—for myself, for the person I’m talking with, for anyone who will be affected by my decision? The “right now” part of that advice is important. Not in an ideal world, not if things were different, not if I had my act together, but right now.
Choosing to live in the minute we’re in may be one of the most loving things we can do at any time. It removes so much of what may motivate us other than love and reminds us that, no matter what else may be going on at the moment, we are alive. This is the gift from and through which all other gifts flow, and it is cause for great rejoicing.
2 thoughts on “Just This Minute”
In a recent dharma talk, Rev. Kusala, an American Buddhist monk, was sharing a bit about how he came to be a monk. He talked about various jobs he did, and career paths he considered. As he did so he evaluated the merits of various jobs, dismissing being a celebrity and acknowledging the contribution of garbagemen. He did so in a plainspoken manner that stuck with me. Its’ countercultural evaluation of “success” simply stood things on their head.
Yes, I think getting into deeper touch with the very fact that we are alive is an excellent antidote to our obsessions with success/failure. It puts the lie to the whole consuming neurosis. At least for a moment.