Plan like you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.
Why do we exist ? How should we live ? What should we leave behind ? These questions vex me. A lot. When in a reflective mood. A lot of other times it is the usual big and small daily routine irritants. Once I deal with these anger triggering things, I live. I do stuff. Talk. Write. Ride. Trek. Drive. Ride. Laze. Work out. Take orders. Give orders. Waste time. Watch TV. Do social media networking. Waste more time.
So from profound to mandate with nothing in between ? Is this living in the moment ? Or is this avoiding to live ? Where does mindfulness fit in ? What to do with the quote above ?
Just living in the moment with no joy or repentance of past or pleasure or tension for future will make one bored of doing that thing. It then leads to exploring more experiences for sake of variety or just seeking entertainment.
I have been there , done that. In the past phase of life. I drifted, enjoyed the scenery. I trekked, I traveled, I read, worked, taught. Then wondered where is this leading to ? Then there were the growing up years and the mild depression times. Those days nothing had any pleasure. Everything had to be forced, faked. I was not due to little or big shadows of past or fore bearings for future ( I was lucky ?). But life was dry. I am not sure what snapped me out of it, may be change of place, change of project or just … it was a passing phase. Post the phase too while there was meaning and joy while doing stuff, the drifting too was there. Even now it happens, some times for short span.
So just living for the moment does not make one content. It is not that thinking about past or worrying about future will bring that either.
I think what matters is that one is aware of the surroundings. One must let past influence the present but as a way to deal with situations. Learn. Use that to guide the moment. Hone instincts. One must think and plan for the future, also.
While living for the moment be aware of what your are doing and what that is doing to your near and dears. And these days, what it is doing to the earth. Living for self will bore you. Live for yourself and others. By your actions make a good impact, as far as you know. We are not islands so we affect others and are influenced by others. Awareness of things happening with in you ,outside of you and awareness the effects, makes living so much more satisfying.
We are sum total of our memories. Past will have a bearing. Past will shape us. What we need to forgive and forget are specific events, people if they hurt us. Or even if they gave us pleasure, we can forget them. It was in the past. What we need to carry forward is the lesson after reflecting on the events, the cause and results and our responses. These can become habits, build our character, hone our instincts.
We do need to know where we are heading. As Yogi Berra says, if you do not know where you are going, you might not get there. So think of the future, not in terms of goals, milestones as we plan in corporate world but as in what will make you satisfied. How would you like your friends to remember you, what will you leave behind?
So after all this, how do we live in the moment, when do we do it ? Even if we want to do it with awareness?
I practice and teach agile. I look at outword bound training and do general reading. What I realised is that we need to plan, act, reflect and then start over. Rinse, repeat. 5% plan , 90% act with attention and 5% reflect. And this is not a stage 1,2,3 kind of thing. There are times when we need to sit and plan for a while. These are dig decisions. Then one needs to plan for day to day and week to week. Mini plans and plan tweaks to the big plan. But having thought when you get to act do it with focus. Then reflect after every completion, end of day and star of the day.
Well all this sounds good but very hard to do. I start , it wears down and I drift. Restart. At every restart, things get little better. Does not mean I do not regress ? I do but I think I will get there, may be. So that is my way of living for now. Another thing that I think is needed is thick skin and short memory. Do not let things affect you, if they do forget them but remember the lessons !