As ‘budding Buddhas’, we may have heard fellow practitioners stress ‘Living in the present moment’. This advice echoes a statement made by the Buddha himself, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly". Renowned Zen monk Thich Nhat Hahn further qualifies the present moment with his oft said “Present moment, wonderful moment.”
Although particular moments may not seem so wonderful, by being aware of the present moment we can still step back into our lives and truly experience life the way it was meant to be lived. We are no longer stuck in a nebulous past or catapulted into an uncertain future, but we are exactly where we are supposed to be, right here, right now.
That being said, what about the ‘pop-culture’ context in which we have heard others declare we were living ‘in the moment’? This could include something as innocent as eating a delicious dessert or buying an item that we probably shouldn’t, to consuming many intoxicating drinks or having an illicit affair.
Seeing these examples and ‘present moment, wonderful moment’ side by side, we can notice a clear difference. In the ‘pop culture’ version, the ‘live in the moment’ focus is exclusively on the self. In contrast, living in the present moment as the Buddha taught is doing so with a balance of wisdom and compassion for all beings, including ourselves. In truth, we are only human, and may therefore sometimes slip up. But we can prevent (and remedy) such errors by being ever-mindful of the joy that comes from slowing down and living life breath by breath, from one moment to the next.
Was this post helpful? What does the present moment mean to you?
May all beings be happy!