We can agree that when our lives are so busy, we can easily forget what’s really important in life. However, sometimes it can be worth it to take a step back and think about what really matters.
That’s why the below story from modern day Buddhist Pema Chödrön is so refreshing. It crystallizes what’s most important in life, no matter what struggles you’re going through.
So here it is, the most important truth about life that we would do well to remember more often:
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
Life only exists in the present moment. As simple as that sounds, it’s something that we forget all too often when we get lost in our worries and our daydreams.
The more we remember that life only exists in the present moment, the more fulfilling our lives will be. Pema Chödrön goes onto say that this is what living fully means:
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”
Here are three steps to practice living the moment
Following Pema Chödrön’s brilliant words, here are three steps you can take for living in the present moment:
Gain awareness about the direction of your attention. Quite often the focus is chaotic and scattered. Psychologically, this mental habit is known as “mind wandering.”
Shift the redirection of your attention to the current moment. It is achievable by directing your attention to an object, sensations, surrounding sounds, your breath or anything that makes you feel good.