Let me run a few thoughts by you. Now is all we ever have. I know the statement is very familiar and you may be thinking tell me something new. But I have observed that although we may be aware of truths deep down, they tend to get buried or displaced by deeply ingrained habitual behavioral patterns as we face infinitely varied challenges of moment by moment life. And this fact may well just be the most important realization of all.
We may feel joy or regret in our past or more likely some combination of the two. We may anticipate the future positively or negatively. But all of those emotions are in fact meaningless except to cloud and complicate our reality which is always only our response to now.
I am going to suggest that the very essence of happiness, contentment and even the end of suffering and disappointment lies in how we respond to Now. I certainly do not claim to be the first to make this proclamation. I believe such is the essence of what most of history’s sages have stated when stripped of the excess baggage followers have attached. Jesus taught to not be concerned over worldly affairs and to take no thought for the tomorrow. The Buddha taught that desire is the source of all unhappiness.
It can all be condensed to acceptance of “what is”. Think about it, is not all negativity, unhappiness, disappointment, anger, hostility, greed, etc. etc., a result of dissatisfaction with “what is”? Our nature is to get mad about “what is” because we desire something different. Is this not true? Do I kiss or curse the stone I stumbled over? If I curse it, does that help my sore wounded toe? Which way do I profit most, curse it and feel disgusted at myself for my negligence or be thankful for what the experience teaches me? Our ingrained response is to be pissed at ourselves and maybe we learn to be more cautious and attentive next time. But experience clearly reflects that no one eliminates unpleasant experiences, regardless how religious, attentive, prayerful, intelligent, etc. I do not believe that statistics will indicate that the religious, prayerful, intelligent, or whatever is able to significantly affect the sickness or accident percentages. If such were the case, surely an observant populace would pick up on it and a stampede toward that particular viewpoint would result.
Back to acceptance or resistance to “what is”. Regardless how we respond, “what is” is totally and completely unaffected. I can be pissed or I can be happy, what is, is. It’s like watching a movie or a football game. I can be happy about the drama or the touchdown or extremely disappointed. It makes absolutely no difference to the movie or game. The only difference is in my personal emotional status. If I’m very agitated, the cellular structure of my body will become disturbed, weakened and in disarray, no doubt weakening my immune system. However, if I’m happy with what is occurring, my bodily functions remain harmonious and impervious to negative advances.
We cannot change or affect in any way whatsoever “what is”. It simply IS. Our only options are to accept or resist.
Furthermore, this fundamental principle is the very same regardless of one’s beliefs. If you are religious, atheist, agnostic, or whatever, you need make no changes in your inherited or ingrained beliefs. You may just simply accept the inevitable for now. Whatever adjustments truth may require will come about as they become more apparent and acceptable.
In conclusion, after many years of ponder and contemplation I have come to the conclusion that we are not in control of anything except for one very important thing. And that is how we respond to “what is”. From my observations, things immediately change for the better when one comes to this basic realization. But that is another subject.