The ancient Hellenic Stoic school of philosophy proposed that the only thing that one could control with any certainty was our own state of virtue. All else exists beyond our ability to control it.
This statement has enormous consequences for our perception of the world. It lays to waste most of what we are told or led to believe is true. Concepts that give us, or others, the power to control things are made redundant. Nothing is a given other than what we can give of ourselves.
It is a world view that erodes my illusions of solidity and stability. It reduces the past to a series of lessons, and the future to challenges yet to come. The past is only a memory, the future only a dream. The present is all that exists…
Living life in the present moment is difficult in a society that seems committed to making us dwell on the past or worry about the future. A society which remains focused on that which no longer exists, and that which exists only in potential. Almost nothing commands us to be fully conscious in the here and now. Yet doing so evokes an essential truth to mind. Everything that is living is dying as well. We are all living on borrowed time.
There is not a moment to waste. There is nothing too small not to take pleasure in. No single hour passes where a multitude of simple pleasures do not engulf us. Merely breathing is a gift. A splash of cool water, the vivid brightness of a flower, the touch of a loving hand, a ray of sunshine….
Life is full of the moments that we should be paying attention to. Moments that will move into our memories in the blink of eye, hardly remembered…hardly experienced.
It is only when things get bad that we remember the small things that made life good. Things we allowed to slip by without ever being truly present to witness them with every core of our being.
And slowly I start to become aware of how serene life is at this very moment in time.
A gentle breath of a breeze cools me down. The cats are sleeping peacefully outside in the shade. My family is healthy. In so many ways life is good. Some say we only acknowledge happiness in retrospect. Let it be our challenge to experience whatever happiness we may find, consciously and fully in the here and now…