We just celebrated one of the biggest festival of the year, Diwali. Crackers, sweets, gifts and a joyful experience all around. It’s common to give and receive gifts during this festive season. As eager we are to open the gifts we received and so are we excited to know the feedback for the gifts we offered to our loved ones. We want to see them surprised and happy hence insist on opening the gift right in front of us. We want to see the sparkle in their eyes as they come to know what is packaged inside the gift box.
Have we ever wondered about the gift we’ve received from God? Just as we receive gifts from our friends and close ones, quite similarly, we have received a unique gift pack from God that contains 365 smaller gifts. The life that we have been blessed with, gives us 365 gifts every year. God wants us to open every gift with surprise and amazement. He wants us to welcome every moment of the present with open arms and an open mind. Let us make His wish our own and open the gif with the same surprise and excitement that we expect from our friends when we give them gifts.
As we receive the gift of the Present, He observes that our focus, instead of being on opening the gift, is drifting elsewhere. Instead of seeing amazement for the present moment in our eyes, He sees tears of sorrow for the past or apprehension about the future. This is why it becomes necessary to train ourselves to greet the present with wonder and amazement. Life is amazing. It is magical. Every moment of life is packed with fascination and wonderment. Let us learn to look at life with this perspective.
Here’s a short story that will help us understand the importance of living in the present.
A person, who had reached the end of his life was conversing with God.
Person: O Lord .. I have many more tasks that are incomplete and wishes that are unfulfilled. I need to prepare a will, take care of my loved ones, witness the birth of my grand children.. Please grant me a little more time on earth!
God: My dear child, I am sorry! I cannot grant you that wish. This is the end of your short earthly visit and it is now time for you to continue your onward journey.
Person: (referring to the suitcase in God’s hands) Why do are you carrying this suitcase? What does it contain?
God: This suitcase contains something that belongs to you.
Person: (happily) Have you brought me my clothes and my money from earth?
God: The clothes you had in your cupboard and the money you had in the bank, weren’t really yours, my child. The clothes that you thought were yours, now belong to those who would wear them. The money that you believed was yours, now belongs to those who would spend it. How then, can you call these things, yours?
Person: Well then, what does this suitcase contain, that belongs to me? Does it contain my relations?
God: The relations you had, were there for you to learn certain lessons. Their sole purpose was to help you discipline yourself, to contemplate and heighten your understanding about life by learning the lessons meant for you. They were there to help you experience the joy of loving and giving. These too, you cannot call yours.
Person: (bewildered) If neither the clothes, nor the money, nor the relations are mine, then what does this suitcase contain? Does it contain my skills and abilities?
God: Your skills were meant for and limited to your role on earth. Your abilities were a part of your DNA, which you had inherited from your ancestors. So, these belong to them, not you!
Person: If my skills and abilities do not belong to me either, surely the suitcase contains my memories?
God: The memories are not yours either. They have come to you from past lives.
Person: Neither the memories are mine.. Nor the relations.. Nor the skills what else remains that could be mine? Does the suitcase contain my body?
God: Your body is made up of the five elements: earth, air, water, fire and space and so it will eventually return to these elements. Your body isn’t yours either.
Person: If not my body, does the suitcase contain my soul?
God: Your soul is only a small part of the universal soul, the Divine Being. It does not belong to you either.
Person: Alas! The soul isn’t mine either! What else remains that I can call mine?
God: Why don’t you open the suitcase and see for yourself?
The person goes on to open the suitcase and is shocked and disappointed to find the suitcase empty.
Person: (crying bitterly) It’s empty! Does this mean nothing belongs to me? Is there nothing that I can call mine?
God: You’re right. Nothing is yours.
Person: O Lord.. There has to be something in the life that I spent on earth, that I can call mine! Please tell me what it is.
The question that the person has asked God is very important and worth contemplating.
God replies to him saying:
God: During your life on earth, everything that you accumulated or tried to accumulate was never yours. Life, and everything contained within it, is like a flowing river. You cannot contain it. You cannot accumulate it. But yes, there was something that was yours and that’s what is contained in this suitcase. What did belong to you, were the precious moments you lived. All the moments you lived on the earth, were yours.
Understanding this message will help us realize that the present is our true wealth. The present is where the solution exists to every problem, every challenge. This is why it is of vital importance to first learn the art of living in the present.
We have to live every moment to its fullest. We are not to just think about the present moment; we are to live it, imbibe it, and be one with it. This skill has to be learned by every human being. To learn it, we have to learn to return to the present and stay there.
This book is about understanding the importance of being in the present moment and learning how to do it. Being in the present brings a joy that springs from spontaneity and freshness. And the surprising thing is one has to do nothing to experience it. The experience is always already here. ; We are the experience.
It’s just that it has been shrouded.
We spend most of This book will go on to show how we are spending too much our energy in thinking about the past and the future. We just have to stop that and it is all there. One cannot think about being in the present, the way one does about the past and the future. One can just be the present. This being is who you
present, the way one does about the past and the future. One can just be the present. This being is who you truly are.
These moments that you are present in, just being, are yours. It is these precious moments that make your life-time worthwhile; and it is these very moments that most people squander away in their preoccupation with the dead past and non-existent future.
This book will serve as a duster, an opener and a periscope. A duster to erase everything that keeps us away from the present. An opener to open our eyes and heart to the present moment that has eluded us so far. And finally, a periscope to help us look at our past and future in the correct, detached and distant way.
While we aim to go beyond the confines of time and realize the essence of our existence, even a small shift in our perception about the present will make this book our life worthwhile. This small shift will eventually lead to a great spiritual revolution and awakening.
Invest your present in understanding the power of the present, so as to be free from the clutches of the past and create a fulfilling future!