Something I forget a lot, and have to remind myself about a lot: I’m not on my way somewhere.
This moment isn’t just a stepping stone to get to another place. It’s the destination. I’m already here.
I’m not on my way to a more important moment. This current moment is the most important moment.
This might be obvious to some of you, but I forget a lot. It’s not usually obvious until I remind myself. And even then, it takes some convincing, because I have a tendency to discount this moment and think the important ones are coming up soon.
Let’s quickly look at a few examples:
- You’re in traffic, quite literally on your way to another destination. You’re in a rush to get somewhere else. But this moment, sitting in traffic, frustrated, is not less than any other moment in your life. It’s full of sounds, sights, textures, emotions, other people, the ability to be present and appreciate life, the ability to learn patience and how to deal with struggle, the opportunity to practice coming back to the present. These, and many other things present in the current moment, are incredibly important.
- You’re walking to a meeting. You’re almost at somewhere important! But right now, this walk down a hallway, is just as important. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss it. It’s an opportunity to practice, to appreciate, to find gratitude, to breathe, to give yourself space before the rush of the meeting, to deal with the emotions you’re feeling.
- Someone interrupts you while you’re doing something important. How dare they! Don’t they know you’re doing something important, and now you’re disrupted? But this moment of noticing your frustration, this opportunity to bring your presence to this other person, this opportunity to appreciate this other person and be curious about them … these are also super important.
- You’re showering, washing dishes, getting dressed, getting your keys to go to your car … these are times of rushing to the next thing. They are also destinations in themselves, if you pay attention. They’re spaces between, times to practice, times to notice, mini meditations.
Each moment rushes by, because we’re on our way somewhere else. They rush by, rush by, and whoosh are gone. We don’t notice them, because they’re unimportant. Our lives become a huge pile of unnoticed unimportant moments on our way to more important things. The important things also get tossed on the same pile, until we’re left wondering where it all went.
Each moment is like the dew on grass, fragile, ready to evaporate, precious. Let’s not waste each dewlike moment with neglect.
The Most Important Moment was first published on Zen Habits on 11/9/15.