The Present, New Year’s Day, Eighth Day of Christmas
“What comes next? The answer is: we never know. No matter how smart we are, how carefully we have planned, or how much data we have gathered, we are still only mortals who can never control the future. We live in the now, in the eternally changing series of spaces we call the present. The now is where we shine. In the now we can have an impact, be creative, shape reality, build relationships that can withstand change. What happens tomorrow may always be a surprise, but what happens today can still feel our presence. In fact, we are the artists of the now. We can turn a moment into a memory, a glance into a promise, an idea into a vision that will last forever.” Steven Charleston Daily Facebook
I think I become aware of the gift of living in the present moment in the 1980’s when I bought Spencer Johnson’s 80-page book, The Precious Presence as a Christmas present for my husband and decided to read it first. It is a practical parable of a man living in our fast-paced world trying to find meaning and peace, opening the most precious of presents. Later I would read two more of Spencer’s books, The One Minute Manager and Who Moved the Cheese during my self-help period attempting to cope with the demands of a busy pediatric radiology practice. Then I was reminded again by the power of living in the present when I read from CS Lewis in the Screwtape Letters that God meets us only in the present moment. “The Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” This is where God lives in our lives. God is not in the past or the future, but there to greet us in the present moment.
How do we stay in the present moment? Anthony De Mello in Sadhana teaches us that living in our body and not living out of our head keeps us grounded. Spending time in nature connects us to the present. Being with children keeps us in the present, for that is where they live.
Living in the present moment can be our gift to ourselves, to God, and to all we will meet in this new year.