"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" ~ Lao Tzu
“The thing that's totally different between children and adults, Rose, is that children have the ability to spontaneously use their imagination to forget what's bothering them and be inspired by every pony, feather, or bug that crosses their path.” ~ The Universe
I think that nearly anyone reading this knows about - and maybe practices - being in the present moment. Lately, I’ve been considering this in relation to children, animals and nature. I’m learning so much by just watching how they remain fully present – and do it absolutely naturally, just like breathing.
Little babies are about as present as a person can get. No thoughts tumbling toward the future: there is no concept of time to a baby, there is only Now. (I don’t really buy into the concept of measuring time; a topic for a future post.) No worries about the past; the baby’s too young to even have much of a past. There is only Now.
Watch little babies and see how present they are. They respond to what happens with pure honesty. There is no editing, or remembering their manners. They get hungry, they cry. They get tickled, they laugh. They feel like burping, they burp. [smile] They forget the everyday bad things quickly. One minute they want this toy, the next minute they’re distracted by something else. Always Now, always present.
Animals are very much the same. No past or future worries. Only Now. They run around the yard just to run. Or dig in the garden because it’s a doggy thing to do. They don’t stop and consider their actions against what they’ve done in the past or what they might plan to do in the future. Their pleasure is in the present, exactly where they are right now.
And how about ocean waves, gently crashing to shore and then sighing back out? Over and over, without ever ceasing. When my then-husband first left our daughter and me, I spent a lot of time sitting on the beach, watching the waves move back and forth, reassuring me that the world continues on, that in the constancy, the Now of the ocean, there is only the present moment. Here is Now … and here is Now … and there really only is Now. That is the only place that we ever truly are. Here. Right now.
“Where am I?”
“I am here.”
“What time is it?”
There is a wonderful, transformative movie called “Peaceful Warrior” that I highly recommend. I use the above quote from the movie a LOT in my life, when my mind is rushing and playing pinball around a hundred things at once. When I sense my thoughts getting all jumbled up and chaotic, I stop and ask myself “Where am I?” I answer “here.” My pinballing thoughts stop and I shift into Now. I see where I am (yoga, on a walk, at my desk, driving), and I focus on being present to this moment, maybe feeling the strength of a trikonosana or really seeing (and smiling at) the people in the cars around me. (And, sometimes seeing that I should probably slow down a little.)
Babies, animals, nature – by observing them, I learn more about releasing past and future and being fully present to Now.
Edited 11/07/09: I was just reading today's practice on The Oneness Experiment and found a very similar theme on The Rhythm of Oneness:
"Children allow themselves to move at their natural rhythm and pace. They accept what arrives from moment to moment and then allow it to spontaneously flow into something else."
I always say kids can teach us and help us to remember because they're still so fresh from God.