Story by Dada JP Vaswani on Grasping The Present Moment – Times of
Life is often compared to a book, each chapter representing one particular phase of our life; but there is one major difference between my life and my book; I cannot turn back the pages of my life. I cannot revisit the past except in my memories. Nor can I read the final chapter of my life before its due time. Life has to be lived in the present.
Two sisters were travelling by train from
to Kanyakumari. Due to adverse weather conditions, the train halted at a station in central Jammu , until conditions improved, and the tracks were cleared. The passengers were stuck on the train for hours together. The older sister was annoyed, irritated and frustrated; she railed and ranted; she complained bitterly to the TTE and the conductors, who were helpless themselves; she sulked endlessly and became a source of annoyance to all her fellow travellers. India
The younger sister on the other hand, refused to allow her spirits to be dampened by the delay. She went around cheerfully, making friends with the others, exchanging jokes, playing with children, starting singing sessions in different carriages, conducting quiz contests to keep young people occupied, and generally spreading good cheer all around. Strangers responded to her, sharing their food with her, inviting her to join their group, and enthusiastically joining her efforts to 'organise' games for the entertainment of all.
When the train finally reached its destination, the older sister was morose, depressed and tired. She felt that her time had been wasted. As for the younger sister, she had had the time of her life! She had made so many new friends, she had had such new experiences, and she had managed to retain her good mood and her good humour all along. She had enjoyed the journey, despite the delays and the setbacks and all the little inconveniences. She had made the most of the present.
Living in the present maximises all the possibilities that life offers to us. We are able to focus on what is happening around us, and savour all those little joys and pleasures that are available in the here-and-now.
The past is over and done with; the future is in God's hands; the best that anyone can do is to live in the present, wisely and well. Every day will have its own share of challenges, difficulties, rewards and achievements: why should we complicate matters by dragging our regrets of the past and fears of the future into the present?
The trouble with most of us is that we hardly ever dwell on the happy experiences that we have had in the past. Most of us seem to have a permanent love affair with the sorrows, regrets and failures of the past. We hold on to these bitter memories, refusing to let go. In a beautiful sonnet on the theme of remembrance, Shakespeare compares this attitude to repaying old debts that have already been settled long ago!
Imagine that you have taken a housing loan, and have paid it off diligently over a period of years. After the whole thing is over, will you keep transferring money to your loan account just because you like to dwell on your own past? Is that not futile and foolish, apart from being a waste of your money? So why dwell on past memories that are negative and bitter? This too, is emotional waste of a high order!
The past is over and done. The future is yet to come. What is real is the present moment. Let us make the best use of the present. Let us make it beautiful.
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