In our busy lives, we tend to have a running commentary about time. We’re planning next week, next year. We glance at the clock and exclaim “Four o’clock already? Where did the day go!” And we also talk about “killing time” when we run up against an unexpected delay that leaves a hole in our schedule.
Even when we devour books like “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, the message about learning to live in the present moment can slip right past us. We pay it lip service and we put it into practice during a meditation, but the rest of the day speeds past in a blur. Do you ever have the experience of blinking at a calendar as you realize what day it is, and wonder what happened to last week (or last month or last year…)?
This is a common factor of our culture, but it doesn’t mean you can’t break away from being a slave to busyness. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn to pause, breathe, and mindfully enjoy the moment you are in, whether you are taking a sip of tea or washing a dish or walking up the stairs to an office building. When we dash along through our lives with our minds focused on what we said and they said, or what we’re going to say and going to do, all of it runs together in a blur.
It’s as if we unwittingly scoop up the banquet of our lives and toss it into a blender, to whirl into one big homogeneous glob.
What if you made a daily practice to pay more attention to the life you are living, while you are living it and not in retrospect as you look back at photos or a diary entry?
What would it feel like to “look to this day” and pay heed to what you are experiencing right now, the delicious feel of air against your skin, the taste of a ripe mango, the scent of roses and jasmine, the sight of a tree or a beautiful work of art. No need to get esoteric about it all—enjoy the satisfaction of washing a dish that you like, or neatening the bed covers. In those few moments, be real and be alive, and look to the joy of your life. It is created in the moments, not in the rush from one thing to another.
Kalidasa was a 5th century Sanskrit poet and dramatist. You may have seen quotes from his poem translated to mean “Look to This Day” which is a beautiful reminder to us to enjoy the present moment.
Look to This Day
Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!