#18: Destination: The Here and Now
I'm currently (very intentionally) reading Thich Nhat Hahn's You are Here. Normally, a 138-page book will take me a couple of hours to read, but I've been reading this one for weeks now, slowly digesting a couple of pages every night before I go to sleep. (Doing the breath awareness he recommends tends to send me right off to dreamland, which is okay by me.) Last night, I came across a passage that was incredibly profound, and I wanted to share it with all of you. (Both of you?)
As you breathe in, you practice arriving. You have arrived. Your destination is the here and now. In daily life, you are in the habit of running because you think happiness is impossible in the present. This is a habit that was handed down to you by your ancestors, by your parents. Happiness does not seem possible to you in the here and now, so you look for it in the distant future. The practice consists of stopping that habit of running.
Wow. Talk about a 2x4 to the forehead. I have been running my whole life, and while I've certainly found great happiness in my life (especially recently), I've also spent most of it so future-focused (anxious), or past-obsessed (depressed) that I've missed many opportunities to be happy. I think tomorrow will be better when I earn more money, or life will be better once I do X thing or lose Y pounds or meet the love of my life (that one was true), so I miss out on the joy in the present moment.
My challenge now is to simply be present. To not travel back to the past or into the future, but simply understand that my destination is the here and now. It won't be an easy journey, but I believe it will be rewarding.