I was in a plane descending into Portland for a quick stopover, and I gazed upon a brilliant pink sunrise over blue and purple mountains, and my heart ached.
Instinctively, I looked over to Eva to share this breath-taking moment, but she was sleeping. I felt incomplete, not being able to share the moment with her, or with anyone. Its beauty was slipping through my fingers.
This was a teachable moment for me: I somehow felt this moment wasn’t enough, without being able to share it. It took me a second to remind myself: this moment is enough.
It’s enough, without needing to be shared or photographed or improved or commented upon. It’s enough, awe-inspiring just as it is.
I’m not alone in this feeling, that the moment needs to be captured by photo to be complete, or shared somehow on social media. It’s the entire reason for Instagram, for instance.
We feel the moment isn’t enough unless we talk about it, share it, somehow solidify it. The moment is ephemeral, and we want solidity and permanence. This kind of groundlessness can scare us.
This feeling of not-enoughness is fairly pervasive in our lives:
- We sit down to eat and feel we should be reading something online, checking messages, doing work. As if eating the food weren’t enough.
- We get annoyed with people when they don’t act as we want them to — the way they are feels like it’s not enough.
- We feel directionless and lost in life, as if the life we have is not already enough.
- We procrastinate when we know we should sit down to do important work, going for distractions, as if the work is not enough for us.
- We always feel there’s something else we should be doing, and can’t just sit in peace.
- We mourn the loss of people, of the past, of traditions … because the present feels like it’s not enough.
- We are constantly thinking about what’s to come, as if it’s not enough to focus on what’s right in front of us.
- We constantly look to improve ourselves, or to improve others, as if we and they are not already enough as we are.
- We reject situations, reject people, reject ourselves, because we feel they’re not enough.
What if we accepted this present moment, and everyone and everything in it, as exactly enough?
What if we needed nothing more?
What if we accepted that this moment will slip away when it’s done, and saw the fleeting time we had with the moment as enough, without needing to share it or capture it?
What if we said yes to things, instead of rejecting them?
What if we accepted the “bad” with the good, the failures with the attempts, the irritating with the beautiful, the fear with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment is offering us?
What if we paused right now, and saw everything in this present moment around us (including ourselves), and just appreciated it for what it is, as perfectly enough?
This Moment is Enough was first published on Zen Habits on 5/13/16.