But like with everything in our life, in this dualistic world that we live in, every up has its down, and every down has its ups, even with something as horrendous as what happened. And for me, the up in this case is that what happened should bring us back into the amazingness and importance of simply being alive. If we are touched by what happened, it should really make us cut down a lot of the silliness of our life. The silly thoughts, the silly worries and problems and obstacles we keep creating in our mind. It should make us see the beauty of the simple life, of the simple moment…, value simplicity instead of the complications, difficulties and continuous complains we have about all and everything. Makes us appreciate the simplicity of existence…of existing right now!
Also, what happened should help us come to a place where we are content with our lives as they are in this moment. So many times, so many people are living only for the future: when _ _ _ _ _ happens, then I am going to live. When I get that job; when I get married; when I get the promotion; when I get the degree; when my kids grow up; when… And most people are dedicating all their lives to the future believing that their life IS what is going to be. But what happened this week proved (one more time) that one can take the subway and puff, that is it. It is not a matter of fear, of course, but of coming to a place where we are satisfied with what is, with our life as it is. Or as Epictetus said 2,000 years ago: ‘One way to guarantee freedom is to be ready to die.’
This does not mean we are not going to live for the future. Yes, there is a future, and quite probably most of us are going to experience a long future. But the present and the future are not contradictory; they can both co-exist at the same time. Why? Because they exist at different levels of reality. If they shared the same reality, they could not co-exist: at any given moment, one can only live for the present or for the future. But in reality they do not touch each other because they don’t share the same space.
For the future we need the mind; without the mind, there is no future. For a dog, the future does not exist, because he does not have a mind. The future is a thought in the head, and idea, a belief, an image, a construction—all functions of the mind. No mind, no future. But the present is independent of the mind. The present is. Presence is like silence, in the sense that silence does not need to be created. When all the noises stop, then silence shines. It was there all along. With enough attention, one can experience silence even in the middle of noise. It is the same with presence. Presence is the sense of satisfaction, of peace, of fulfillment that exist at every moment, covered by the noises of the mind.
And so, living in presence does not mean we are not going to do things for the future, not at all. Only that the future should not be our only reality. As we do things for the future we need to have the space in the mind that is also able to be aware of this moment; that is aware of the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that this moment brings with it. It becomes a fine balance. It is OK to live my life with the understanding that very probably there is going to be a life ahead of me, so I need to take care of myself and my loved ones. But, at the same time, I need to find the way to make the mind understand that ‘This is IT’. If I am called, I need to leave everything behind, and I need to be ready for it.
In the practical life we need to live our lives practically, and to think about the future is a necessary thing. But in our hearts, in the depth of our hearts, we need to have this feeling of satisfaction that we did everything that could have been done. That we did everything that was possible based on what was given to us. And so to live our lives knowing that every second could be the last, even if probably it is not going to be…until it is, and when it is, to be fine with it.
So, within our possibilities, we need to close, to finish, to complete as many things as we can. Whatever can be closed, we need to close it, and whatever cannot be closed, we need to live with the understanding that it cannot be closed. We need to understand that everything that was could not have been different from what it was, and that in every second of my life I am doing everything that can be done, given the possibilities I have. So, no regrets. No regrets. No regrets.
Yes, if I get my degree maybe I will have a better job, I will have more money, I will live in a better place. It could be, so we need to go for it, for sure.
Maybe I will get the degree, maybe not. Who knows?