Truth Of Life ► 01 ► [1.6] Ishwara - 06 Living In The Present

Posted: 27.05.2008

The Art & Science Of Living

Chapter 1. 

Ishwara: Friendliness

06

Living In The Present

[Success of life lies in understanding the importance of the present moment in which work is done. We can live in the present moment through awareness, a keen interest in activity, effort, focus on one activity at a time and control over desires. Meditation teaches us to live effectively in the present moment.]

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to come. Between yesterday and tomorrow, falls a day, that is today, the present. It is imperative to understand today, the present, because effectiveness and success can come through living in the present.

One of the biggest results of meditation is to understand the present moment and ultimately establish friendliness with the present. Actually, whatever a man does is a reaction to the past, and the future is linked to it. Harvesting of crop and sowing of seeds are being done in the present. A crop being harvested now was sown in the past and a crop being sown now, will be harvested in the future. So the acts being done presently are due to the past or for the future. Whatever a man does, whether violence or non-violence, truth or lies, good or evil, all these acts are linked to the past. The acts may be influenced by the past but they are done in the present. The past is being manifested in the present and the future is born in the present. So, ultimately everything takes place in the present. In fact, the past is already over and the future is yet to come, so the past and future are simply imaginary in nature. The present moment is the reality. The gist of meditation is to evaluate the present and to live in the present moment.

In order to have friendliness with the present, it is necessary to focus upon five elements, namely, awareness, keen interest, effort, profound meditation and indifference to desire.

The first tenet is awareness, the constant remembrance of whatever you do. A forgetful person cannot have friendliness with the present moment. Awareness is a very good way of establishing friendliness with the present moment. Man even forgets his own self. If a man can forget himself, his consciousness and his nature, then the forgetting of his wife, brother and parents is not a big thing. Basically a man is forgetful. Therefore the first rule is "Awareness", perpetual remembrance. Those who are unforgetful can establish friendliness with the present moment. First of all, it is difficult to have friendliness with the present moment, but once friendliness is established, if remains forever, it does not break at all. The foremost and powerful means to establish friendliness with the present moment is "Breath". Those, who remain aware of their breath and witness their breath constantly, truly live in the present moment. But those who sometimes even forget to breathe properly cannot live in the present moment.

The second rule is "Keen Interest". Whatever is being done, should be done with keen interest, then only will it be a perfect act, consequently you will be in the present moment. When dedication and devotion accompany the act, only then will you be totally present in the act. Therefore, unless keen interest accompanies your act, you will keep flitting between the past and the future, and you will never be in the present moment. The idea is to develop a keen interest in our acts, with the perception of breath, and you will remain in harmony with the present moment. As soon as the thread of keen interest is broken, we start rambling in the past and future and lose touch with the present moment.

The third rule is "Veerya", the prowess, the valour and the effort. It is very important. Most people do not value the present moment because they are basically lazy. They idle or gossip, unable to do anything creative in life. They do not realise that "when you rest, you will rust." Inertia or idleness is the root cause of poverty, leading neither to improved economic nor spiritual development. Shirking from hard work and lack of effort are big hurdles. We should seriously observe the quality of life of persons who are idle and hardworking. Those who ponder over both the aspects and decide to use their power can establish friendliness with the present moment. There are many people in this world who are ordained with favourable circumstances and the means to cultivate friendliness with the present moment but they fail to adopt friendliness with the present moment due to lack of hard work and utter sluggishness. Hard work and use of power are important principles to utilise the present moment beneficially. A camp was arranged in Jaipur by the education department for teachers belonging to all districts of Rajasthan. When the programme commenced, the teachers complained about the hard work of eight to ten hours a day. They were used to seminars involving only three hours work. Within two days, it seemed that work was collapsing but when some inspiration and encouragement was provided to revive their power and enthusiasm, they got accustomed within the next two days and started enjoying the work. The biggest cause of poverty in India is lack of hard work.

India is a country of resources. The explosive state of population is not necessarily the cause of poverty. The increased population can be constructively employed as a big force and power. Poverty is not due to over-population or lack of resources. The single, onerous reason is lack of hard work. If people sincerely work hard then the problem of poverty will disappear on its own.

The absence of hard work creates lots of problems and its proper use can resolve all the problems. Those who employ their power and strength creatively have friendliness with the present moment. On constructive employment of power, you will be able to utilise your present moment properly.

A poor man went to a sanyasi and requested him to remove his poverty. The sanyasi, taking pity on him, gave him a stone, which could convert iron into gold, and reminded him that he would collect it back after six months. The poor man became very pleased and came back to his house. He placed the stone at one place, thinking, that the period of six months was very long, he would wait for the reduction in the price of iron. In the wake of his wrong and greedy thinking, he continued waiting till the last day for the price of iron to go down and eventually missed the golden chance. The sanyasi collected his stone and the poor man remained none the better. This might sound imaginary but it is bitter reality. There are people in this world, who are unable to evaluate the present moment due to their carelessness, greed and wrong beliefs, and thereby miss the benefit of the present moment.

The fourth rule of making friendliness with the present moment is "concentration and profound meditation". People with a fickle mind cannot enjoy the present moment. Our mind is inclined to wander, we have to grasp this reality and learn to control the mind. We have to learn when to let the mind go free and when to engage it, then only can we enjoy the present moment. In fact what is mind? It is a bundle of thoughts, imagination and hallucinations. It creates such vibrations that suddenly man starts moving, running, getting annoyed and frightened. A relaxed person is abruptly activated into different activities by the imagination of the mind. All these are destined to trouble those who are not living in the present moment. Those who are not carried away by the desires of the mind actually remain in the present moment.

The fifth step for the present moment is "indifference to desires". Profound meditation and indifference to desires are blended together. If you do not learn to be indifferent to the desires of the mind then you learn nothing. Right from morning to night, the mind desires hundreds of things. Will you be able to fulfil those demands? No man can go on fulfilling all the desires of the mind. The man who keeps fulfilling the demands of the mind remains grief-stricken, whereas the man who practices indifference to the demands of the mind remains happy. It is agreed that there may be a few (five per cent) justified desires of the mind, which need to be entertained and fulfilled. But if you entertain the remaining ninety five percent desires of the mind then you will breed mental tension and anxiety.

Today, in this age of mental tension, there is an abundance of dazzling material in the market, which pulls the mind towards it. If you go to a big town you will see an endless variety of products. Your mind will be fascinated and if you entertain the desires of the mind then you will be restless. So the important thing is to be indifferent towards the unwanted desires of mind. When you accompany your child to the market, he will keep asking for different eatables. If you keep fulfilling all his desires ceaselessly then the child will be sick, and you will have to spend money to cure his sickness.

The basic needs like thirst and hunger have to be met but unnecessary wants have to be denied. Those who do not know how to deny the unnecessary wants cannot enjoy profound meditation. Those who are unable to dive into profound meditation will never know the process of denying the wants. Those who are restless cannot deny the desires of the mind which will go on increasing, and they will continue fulfilling them one after the other incessantly. Fickleness of mind is a big problem in life; it cannot be easily prevented also. Meditation is not merely a spiritual practice, but it also makes a person effective. The mind works continuously. Even during sleep, it works through the dreaming process, which affects the health adversely. All this is due to the fickleness of the mind. Those who have not learnt the art of denying the undue desires of mind have bad health. Even while you are eating your meal, though you are physically picking up the food and putting it into your mouth yet mentally you may still be wandering. While eating, the mind should concentrate on the food. The digestive system will function properly only when it gets the required amount of blood. When a man thinks during his meals, his brain gets nourished by the blood while the digestive system does not get the required amount of blood. Consequently, the functioning of the digestive system is adversely affected. It is well known that intellectuals, writers, poets and thinkers generally have a poor digestive system.

Prekshadhyana is the practice of discretion when engaging in a thought process or action. A person, who knows when to concentrate or to deny, knows how to live in the present moment. Living in the present moment is facilitated by five factors namely, awareness, keen interest, profound meditation, effort and indifference to desires.

The five factors for living in the present moment will lead to a new style of effective living.

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