I am an old man now. I have lived 82 long years and I have seen many things as you might imagine. I know how old men tend to corner young people, then chatter on and on in an attempt to “enlighten them.” Most al old men all tend to think that they alone, have pawed loose brilliant answers from the cosmic yarn ball of the greatest questions of time. And they talk truly believing that they are the only ones who ever got it right.
I would never presume to do such an unjust thing to anyone. This said I would like to suggest one idea for your consideration. It is the only thing I have to say to anyone that I think may actually be worth hearing. You may use it or ignore it as you see fit, and I promise I will say no more.
The only wisdom I may have is this: the one thing I found that was really necessary for me to live a happy life. The only advice I can offer simply put is always try to remind yourself to be fully present and aware in the present moment. Some call it “Being in The Now.” And that seems to me to be the best way to describe it.
If one thing is true it is that, we humans all naturally tend to forget to appreciate the wonder of the little things in the present moment. The present and the infinite sum of all the tiny things in our life around us “right now,” these things I suggest are all that we ever really have. And in a very real way, I would propose that there is nothing that truly exists but “right now.”
Enthusiastically experiencing these things all around us “in the now,” can make our life in the present magnificent. It can also help us find something encouraging to hold on to, stay afloat and survive after the ship has sunk and we are treading water far from land.
Noticing the wonderful little things as they happen makes my life much richer. Yet this is something I must constantly remind themself to do.
It is not hard to notice these things if I actively, and continually try.
As these are the most obvious things in my life. I am talking everything I can cherish. I am talking about regularly involving my mind in spiritual practice, and being in fellowship. I am talking about really grasping sunsets, about actually paying attention to a child’s laugher, and experiencing the gift of fully witnessing morning dew clinging tenuously to silky rose buds on my rose bush at sunrise.
I am talking about feeling the sand between my toes on a sunset walk on a solitary beach, the rhythmic crash, and whispering hiss, of the salty foam from the incoming sheet of water that rolls into the shore and cools my bare feet.
Walking past a flower should be like a firecracker exploding next to my ear. It should startle me, make me jump, and fully force me into absorbing experiencing–noticing nothing else but its soul feeding beauty. It is a tragedy to walk past that same flower, and miss it as an unnoticed blur in the periphery of my vision, because I am worrying about something that may or may not happen in the future. Once I have walked past the flower it is gone from my present moment of existence.
It is very hard for me to remember to notice these little things.
If I don’t actively experience and appreciate my grandchild blowing out his 5th birthday cake candles because I am worrying about my taxes; if I don’t look into my wife’s eyes and hug her as if it is the first and last time I ever will, because I am headed for the TV set; or if I don’t stop and remind myself how precious the love of others is—I will entirely miss the sacred experience of appreciating them. And if I am not very careful, I will fall into a habit of, doing it again and again with increasing frequency.
The most important things can grow so familiar in fact, that I can easily begin to take them for granted.
Even worse, I can tragically assume they will always be there with us. And when I do this, all of these things begin to lose their astonishment, and thus become quite easy to neglect. And when I miss them, it is a dreadful mistake, as they are gone forever and I did not fully experience them.
Believe an old man; absolutely nothing in life is permanent.
Everything that glitters must fade away.
And I am not just talking about inconsequential things like a dent in a new car, the inevitable winkles, or losing my hair. I am talking about the most precious things I have and love. I am talking about my spouse, my children, my family, my dearest friends, and my loving pets.
Try always to experience these things in your own life— always, in “the Now.” Take in all that is around you; if you do, you will live your life as fully as you possibly can. If you do not, I suggest that you will never be truly happy like it is possible to be.
Cherish these beloved things always.
One day they will leave you, because people die.
And once something beloved leaves you, it is gone forever.
Do not miss it while it is right in front of you.