Last night I was enlightened by the deep and provocative philosophies of Kung Fu Panda. At one point Po is disheartened by his past and sees only an empty future. The wise Oogway explains that Po lives too much in the past and future. He repeats that cliche, "Today is a gift. That is why is it called the present."
Lately I've been like Po -- very concerned about the goings-on of the past and especially the future. It's made me crazy/crazier. Prepare for the future. "Later, I'm going to... I hope to... I'm just getting ready for... " I'm so concerned about how I have lived and will live that I forget to live.
Souza said, " For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacles in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
I lead a really busy life. I have a lot that needs to get done, but I wonder if I am like Martha, who is so worried about getting things ready that she gets left out of the now. She misses the fall colors. The can't remember what she just ate. And she couldn't respond to a friend because she was thinking of something else while her friend was bearing her soul. That's tragic because maybe the now is the really important, even vital thing.
Even as I was writing this in my head I was doing lots of things. I was watching a movie I'd wanted to watch for a long time, but I needed to get some things done, so I was on the computer during the movie. How much more enjoyable would the movie have been, had I given all my attention to it?
In this last conference President Monson said, "This is our one chance at mortal life -- here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the great lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all the you want to do. Instead, find you in the journey - now."
In DBT, yoga, and basically any philosophy based on eastern practices, mindfulness is crucial. The basic idea behind mindfulness is to be totally in the present. Taste your food. Enjoy your bed. Observe the sounds. Feel the pain, the joy, the hunger. Total awareness of right now.
That's my goal for the week. To be in the moment. Sure, I'll take time to reminisce and to get things in order for the future -- it would be irresponsible not to -- but I'm going to take time and enjoy my life today. Join me?