I read this article in the Business Line supplement today by TT Srinath, of new approaches to personal growth. And what actually held my interest is the Zen story that the writer quoted which has always been a favourite of ours. It is being reproduced here - Two monks, an older and younger man were once walking down a road. They chanced on a pretty lady who was attempting to cross a puddle. The senior monk carried her over the puddle and put her down. The monks continued their journey and for over an hour the young monk did not speak to his senior. An hour later the young monk admonished the elder monk chastising him for having carried a woman. The elder monk replied, “I dropped her one hour ago but you still seem to be carrying her.” The burden of the past had trapped the young monk.
In this article, the writer exhorts us to live in the present. He says one should live only for the moment, without carrying any baggage from the past or thinking about the future. In this manner the person is responding to his/her feelings and experiences a sense of freedom. Not burdened with the past and no demands of the future. Living in the present keeps one focused on what is happening right then. He says even in the most difficult situation focus on the right of the moment, think of the positive side even if the present is not exactly encouraging. This way, you get the needed confidence and end up appreciating the situation. He says Living in the present has the potential to be a satisfying growing experience, one that flows naturally from moment to moment. The more we succeed in this task, the more human we become
Sounds very encouraging and makes sense as you read. But does not work all the time. It is said that only the sages could meditate keeping the mind blank. It is a task so humanly impossible. I have tried my hand at meditating. It has never worked. For me, a blank wall is my time machine. It can transport me back in time to being a 5 year old ( I don't think I can go beyond that!!) and then fast-forward to playing with my grandchildren. But living for the moment, when all I probably have to do is walk into the kitchen to make a meal, is simply not my cup of tea. At least to make mundane tasks more interesting, one has to let the mind wander.
It is of course, sane advice, but not really practical. Good to read, appreciate, interesting article to relate if you want to seem wise. Living for the moment works when the going is good. But I doubt if any human has a tight rein over the mind . We learn from the mistakes of the past, and also perhaps by dreaming of the future, work to make the dreams happen, and that makes us what we are.
It would perhaps make more sense to say that we should be grounded to the present, even when we retrace our steps into the past, or wander into the future.It is only then that we can enjoy life in total.