Posts Tagged ‘moment’

the presence of challenge

January 12, 2011

The belief taught in the Lotus Sutra provides no easy answers, no escape route from the difficulties of human life. In fact, it rejects such easy answers; instead it implores us to take up the two tools for exploring life, belief and understanding, and use them to continually challenge and work to perfect ourselves. And it also provides us the energy to do just that. -Daisaku Ikeda (sharingbuddhism.com)

Life has its easy moments . . . remembering that “easy” is a relative term. What I sweep through like a breeze might be a hardship for others. The idea that life itself is easy appears true for only a few individuals. Even then, what we see is the appearance that life is easy. We don’t see the struggle and work behind the scenes. Many people I know who seem to have the easy life worked very hard to get there.

Life is not always hard, but life is always work. In a recent post, my friend, Ben, wrote “the challenges in the world today . . . are forcing us to seek something new in ourselves and only in this moment. That is all we have.”

He is right – we only have this moment to meet the challenges of our lives. Because life is not static, each moment brings a new challenge. Even if those challenges appear to be the same old challenges, they are not. We are unwinding and unfolding along with that challenge in each moment. More of our selves are exposed and available. Thus our abilities, our perspectives, our understanding are changed and there is more of who we truly are to bring to that challenge.

I have a few friends who have physical handicaps. One of them has multiple sclerosis and has had it for 40 years. He copes by reinventing how he meets that challenge each day, in each moment. When one technique stops working, he finds something new in himself to meet that challenge. He gets creative and is willing to do the work required to deal with the new challenges life brings him.

Ben goes on to write that the moments of our lives are “the alpha and the omega.” Each moment is its own beginning and its own end. Once we get inside that knowledge, we realize this moment is the eternal present and this is the only chance we have to find that something new in ourselves to meet our challenges.

Find something new in you today, tonight, tomorrow, and all the moments you encounter. Be that new creation, that new thought, that new action. There is a reason why we set all of this in motion and leave it in motion. None of it was designed to become cold and still . . . and that includes you.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

Undefeated

August 8, 2010

For the past two weeks, I have been a little distracted and neglected my writing of Eternal Presence. My excuse is that I have been living large in a place where not many people get to play.

I belong to this women’s tennis team and we are currently undefeated. Our record is 14-0. We are a very unlikely collection of winning players. None of us are Wimbledon material. Individually, our records of wins and losses are the same as any other player. Many of us get on the court with various braces and wraps to support our aching joints. We swallow Advil by the dozens and ice packs are a staple in our freezers.

But somehow, we managed to put together winning combinations of players that have simply outplayed the other teams. I am learning so much about bringing my best to every point in the game no matter how much better the other team might be in terms of talent and consistency. Even when it is clear that the other team can and is in the process of beating us, I am learning to be in the experience point by point. Several times, we have come from behind to capture the match.

To keep up my momentum and capitalize upon this experience, I have been playing tennis every chance I get in the evenings and weekends. It is said that to maintain a skill, you need to perform it at least twice a week. To improve a skill, you need to perform it at least three times a week. I am seeking to imprint the feel of winning strokes and volleys into my physical rhythm. At the same time, I want to integrate this incredible sense of solidity and confidence in bringing the best tennis player I can be to each point that I play. The mental and emotional game of tennis can compensate for any lack there might be in physical ability and defeat opponents with twice the skill level.

Translating this lesson into the everyday moments of my life might be more of a challenge because there are more distractions off the court than on the court. Being totally present on the tennis court for each stroke of the ball is a requisite of playing well. I cannot be thinking of anything else in that moment except where that tennis ball is, where the other players are, and how I am going to hit this shot right now. I can only move on to the next moment after I see that tennis ball leave the strings of my racquet. If I start thinking about the next point or what’s for dinner, I lose contact with the moment and am likely to lose contact with the ball as well.

“Be here now” is possibly the best advice I have ever heard. This is the only moment that counts. This moment sets up the next moment.

It is the only way to stay in the game.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Presence in the moment

April 9, 2010

Both the past and the future are contained in the present moment. My actions from moment to moment determine the course of my life. The present moment is not only an effect of the past but also is a cause of the future. If the past predicts the future, then the way to create a different future is to create a new past each day by creating a different past today to look upon tomorrow.

That means today, what I do, think, say, believe, act, be, and feel needs to be how I want my future to look like: abundantly full of love, people who care for me, financial security, physical health and well-being, mental and emotional health and well-being. What I need to ask myself is: how would a person with all of these things already in her possession have done and continue to do to maintain them? And then I must set forth to do those things.

It is more than just seeing them in my mind. It is more than just positive thinking. It is more than the “law of attraction.” It is more than magically thinking my way to prosperity. It is the magical art of doing.

If I want more money, I need to find a way to earn more, invest more wisely, and spend less. I need to be an active participant in that. Yes, I can envision myself living a life of financial security and see myself with an abundance of money in my bank account and being debt-free. At the same time, I need to ask myself: what does a person who has those things do in order to achieve those goals?

If I want more people in my life to love and be loved by, the same questions follow: What does a person who loves and is loved abundantly do? Feel? Think? How does such a person act? In this very moment, what can I do to be more loving to myself and to others?

Life comes down to moments. This moment is really all I have. I choose to spend it wisely.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass