Last night, my wife shared a paragraph from a book that she has been reading. "I love this book!" she said excitedly (yes, we're both nerds). The book is called Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. This is the paragraph that Kim shared with me:
We cannot enjoy life if we spend our time and energy worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow. If we're afraid all the time, we miss out on the wonderful fact that we're alive and can be happy right now. In everyday life, we tend to believe that happiness is only possible in the future. We're always looking for the "right" conditions that we don't yet have to make us happy. We ignore what is happening right in front of us. We look for something that will make us feel more solid, more safe, more secure. But we're afraid all the time of what the future will bring—afraid we're lose our jobs, our possessions, the people around us whom we love. So we wait and hope for that magical moment—always sometime in the future—when everything will be as we want it to be. We forget that life is available only in the present moment. The Buddha said, "It is possible to live happily in the present moment. It is the only moment we have."I've often spent too much time worrying about the future or regretting my past. Not too long ago, I wasted an entire weekend unable to accomplish anything because I was sick with worry over things that may or may not happen. My anxieties about the past and the future prevent me from having an enjoyable present.
Well, I'm tired of it. While it's good to draw from the lessons learned in the past, and plan for the future, thinking about them in excess have rarely produced anything productive. I'm going to try to focus more on the present. The present moment is all that I have and it is wonderful.
If you'd like to learn more about the book, please click here.