“do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -buddha
this made me stop and think for a minute when i read it. i understand not dwelling in the past, and making sure to live in the present moment, but not dreaming of the future? um, i pretty much exist to dream of the future. romance, marriage, kids, nyc…you name it.
but in a way, i do see the truthfulness of this quote. it’s important to be happy in the now. happiness comes in loving this journey, every inch of it, no matter how disgusting and discouraging life may seem.
i’ve found that there is a sense of peace, unlike any other, that comes from taking a moment to just sit, and be. to live for even just thirty seconds, perfectly in the present, perfectly grateful for all of the blessings around you, perfectly whole, and content, and full of compliance with the world…that’s a beautiful moment right there.
i’ve been trying to take more of those moments for myself lately. just snatches in the middle of each crazy day where i stop worrying about what’s going to come next and what else needs to be done and instead take a moment to recognize the bounty around me.
i’ve found that life becomes a little bit like a prison when all you can ever see is the future, and how the present is just clearly not good enough, since there’s this amazing future right off in the distance. happiness is so easy to just toss of to the hands of the future for safekeeping.
but the thing is, if you haven’t learned how to be happy in the gorgeous, rich present you’re living now, how is anything going to be any different when you finally reach that day, or event, or milestone that you tossed your happiness to so long ago? happiness is a choice, and it can most certainly be a hard choice, but it’s something you have to train yourself to choose. and as nice as those pity-parties sometimes feel, and although i’m far from happy all of the time, i’ve realized that the world is so, so much brighter when i choose happiness in the current moment.
yet i don’t think dreaming is altogether bad either. when you have those dreams and aspirations continually in your sights, you’re able to live your “now” in a way that will allow those future hopes to eventually become a part of your present. expectations for a better future are what keep me moving – what keep me taking steps and making the choice to keep going, every time that lovely sun comes up.
so i guess there’s an extent. when you pile up all of your stock and save it for the future, that’s a recipe for dissatisfaction and unrest. but letting the future be a guide, a beacon of hope in the distance makes for special, precious, full moments in the present.
i want more of those full moments – those moments where time seems to smile, imperfection seems perfect, and the goodness and rightness of life seems about to overflow. and i have a sneaking belief that those moments aren’t fleeting or rare. my sneaking belief is that every moment can be a full moment, if i only expend the littlest bit of effort to recognize it.
my goal at present is to hunt out those full moments, to open my eyes, and pull down the discouragement and the pride and the haze of expectation that i’ve allowed myself to let hover in the way of present contentment. i’m going to do my best to usher the beauty and the gratitude to the forefront, and help keep it there.
and while accomplishing my goals and living out my dreams may still be something a little ways off in time, ushering in the beauty is something i can do now, this very minute. i’m going to throw back the curtains and let beauty into my present – i’m going to paint my present beautiful.
8 thoughts on “to paint my present beautiful”
Wise words! I still find this one of the most difficult things of all to practice, but I am much better at it now than I was when I was in my 20s. I think you’ve put it perfectly– yearning for an imagined future is like wanting something you can’t have. You can’t have an imagined future because it only exists in your mind. And you lose the only moment in which you have any control over at all, which is right now. There is something else that this post made me think of, and that is not being attached to a particular outcome. Focusing on the present means that we are open to a future that may be different but better for us than one particular outcome, and keeps our eyes open to opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t see because they don’t fit into our idea of what the future should bring.
That’s very true! Keeping my future options open is something I need to do better at, instead of just having only one set future I envision. As always, thank you for reading and commenting! I enjoy your thoughts very much!
I enjoy yours! Thank you for your beautiful posts, Tessa. You write like someone with an old soul, with insight way beyond your years.
P.S. Sorry for mixing up the awards questions! :(
Oh no problem! I really enjoyed your post! I’ve been meaning to comment on it, but have just been lame getting around to it!
Whew, I thought you might have been a bit disappointed I’D been so lame haha! :)