There is no time like the present. Each moment rises and falls, without lingering.
The difficulty humanity faces, is how to stay present in each passing moment. For falling into thoughts about the future or replaying the past can have catastrophic consequences.
Sipping some freshly made chicken broth, the aromatics of star anise and cloves still filling the air, I sit back and laugh about how the universe has a way of teaching you lessons.
The chicken frame to make this broth I purchased from the butcher and it cost all of $1.50. Of course in this modern cashless society, I was short of change. Fortunately this particular butcher had no minimum eftpos and sheepishly I approached the counter presenting my chicken frame for purchase.
“Is that all?” the old butcher said briefly glancing up from his paperwork.
“$1.50” He replied gruffly, placing his hand out expectantly.
I proceeded to place my card in his hand. He looked up, with much more intensity then before. “Haven’t you got any change?” He grumbled, not moving his hand an inch.
“I’m sorry, I don’t”, thinking now that perhaps I should have.
“It’s $1.50!” he grizzled
“I’m sorry I don’t have any change” I said, skulking further back inside my shell”
Shaking his head and mumbling to himself he took the payment.
Already feeling a little embarrassed as I left, I caught the faint sounds of frustration coming from the old butcher and his colleagues. “Can you believe that? Only $1.50! Who is he kidding!”
As I returned home, my mind was busily replaying and analysing the interaction. Should I have got change? But they didn’t have an eftpos minimum. What a grumpy old bugger!
After putting on the chicken broth, I’d realised I hadn’t much time before I had to leave and still had a shirt that required ironing.
Still the mental chatter continued.
Why would he be so rude? Should I have just walked out? What’s going to happen when he sees me in the shop next time?
Shirt freshly ironed, I jumped in the car and raced to work.
After arriving and turning off the engine, I paused. Did I turn the iron off? I hastily sent off a text to my fiancee’ requesting she check the iron when she got home.
Her reply was short and succinct. “The iron was on, but the house is still standing.”
Phew! I thought. I was so busy ruminating about what had just happened, that I’d completely forgotten to turn the iron off. My preoccupation with past events meant that I couldn’t fully concentrate on the task at hand and not only did I leave the iron on, but had managed to iron a few creases into my shirt as well.
Staying in the moment certainly isn’t easy but with practice and attention it may allow us perform tasks with more precision, help manage pain and stress, engage more fully with loved ones, or with nature. But most importantly the present moment can be a sanctuary to ease suffering.
So before you finish reading this, take the time to pause from the business of everyday life. What can you hear or smell , can you feel your body, your breath? Notice the noise of senseless rumination or anticipation going on inside your head and find the stillness.
It is that stillness that can provide you with such calm and peace.