Do you have a Second?

31Dec12

“Your problem is you think you have time.” – The Buddha

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That is quite the problem isn’t it? We think we have time to do so many things later. ‘Not now, I’ll get to that later’ – this is what we say about so many things.

I was reminded in the last couple of days of the limited time we have with loved ones. A person close to me had a brush with death, and suddenly this quote from the Buddha sprung to mind.

I hadn’t talked to that person in months! I knew that they were a phone call away, and that as long as we were both okay, then all was well. I’d see them later.

But that’s the lie. How could I know that I would see them later? We think we have time, but the truth is that time has us. The only thing we have is THIS MOMENT. You are here, right now. This moment is all there is, and this moment is enough.

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We’ve all heard the wisdom of ‘living in the moment’, ‘stopping to smell the flowers’, ‘seize the day!’ etc. We all know it to be true, but maybe it’s the animal in us that fogs up our understanding. Or maybe it’s our own reasoning that tricks us into complacency and lets us believe that we live outside of time, and that we will always be able to go back to the things we want.

I have lost close family members, and I can say that one of the harshest lessons I took from this is that I thought I had time. I thought I had time to spend with this person. I took for granted their presence and my world was swept out from under me when they were gone. I never saw it coming. I thought I had time.

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So, what should we do with our time? If this is the only moment we have, what shall we do? My advice? Find peace. Seek peace. Create peace.

I know I might sound a lot like a hippy, but I think we can all agree that peace (internal/external, local/global, etc.) is an incredibly noble goal.

I was going to say that this goal was especially true for parents, or for people with mood disorders, but it’s not more important – Peace is necessary for everyone; Peace may be harder to achieve if you are a parent, or if you have an illness. (I’d say that this is definitely true for me)

Find your power, create change, make peace your goal

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The great thing about moments is that they are always beginning and ending. This poem says it well:

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.” 
― Arnold Bennett

I think Bennett speaks to spirit of renewal. We live in a mortgaged time, whether by personal or national debt. We owe something. I seek peace, but I can say that I am born in a time and place where a debt was applied to my country and this burden will fall on me, if not my children. We can get bitter, or we can endeavour to find peace.

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We can create peace by learning how to reduce/eliminate debt, and educate our children about this history of debt so that they will grow to be masters of the economy; we are freeing our children from slavery – this is powerful stuff, no?

So we have to get going!

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way, and not starting.”  –Buddha

We need to start this effort to create peace.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

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Instead of turning away, instead of saying ‘Not now, I’ll get to that later’, we need to seek peace right now. This extends much further than the economy – I am using the economy as an example since it is such a huge issue now (and perhaps ever), but we could just as easily be talking about things like making medical care available to those who need it, or empowering marginalized people of our societies. The list of problems is long, but we will work with what we have now and make this moment better. And by beginning in this moment to find peace, we will shock ourselves with how far we can go through time – this is what I am told, but I know that even if I’m not shocked in the end, I’m certain that I won’t be ashamed. Seeking and creating peace battles that ugly guilt monster that chases us.

Be of good spirit! Even smiling makes this moment better!

“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” ― Walt Whitman

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3 Responses to “Do you have a Second?”

  1. I am an atheist but I have a soft spot for Buddha (and some of his other buddies.. though sometimes I think he’s a bit of a know it all)

    LOVE your post. Wish I read in December when I was trying to figure out.. stuff.. (5:02 in the morning.. my brain is mushy)

    “We can create peace by learning how to reduce/eliminate debt, and educate our children about this history of debt so that they will grow to be masters of the economy; we are freeing our children from slavery”

    Now there’s a journey!

    Starting with a smile 😉


  1. 1 Building a Moment « Bipolar 2 Dad

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