Being able to live in the moment..
Posted by Pepper on April 24, 2012
Disclaimer: I usually avoid disclaimers, because I believe they aren’t too essential. If you like what you read, if you have the patience to deal with endless banter, you will carry on. If not, you will exit the page on your own. It isn’t something I need to tell you. This time though, I think the disclaimer is important. This post, in all probability will be classified as ‘boring’, ‘philosophic’, ‘anxiety ridden’ and not something too many people can relate to. I know, I never enjoyed reading posts that revolved around such heavy hearted thinking, let alone writing them. So if you belong to that category of people who can digest only a breezy read, please go ahead and skip this one.
I talk about being able to live in the moment. It’s something that came naturally to me until a while ago. Like most others, I went about living my life, being busy with everyday tasks, meeting friends, going for movies, eating out, seeking thrill in the new shoes I bought, and generally being too caught up with life to really think much about it.
There were others around me who encountered sorrow and grief. Some of my friends lost one of their parents. I know some parents who lost their child. Every now and then I would hear about death. Either within the family or within our social circle. It hurt me deeply. It bothered me for nights. A lot of times it made me sob for days. And then, like most others, I would get over it after an initial round of hurt and tears. The people battling the loss would always be in my prayers. I would always feel for them, but I could go about living my life with a smile again. I hurt for them, but the parting thought in my head was, ‘Life is sad for some, but thank God I have everybody around me safe and sound and I am not undergoing such anguish’
A few months ago, I could sense some change within myself. I can call it an awakening of sorts. Call me stupid, but the unpredictability of life hit me all of a sudden. Yes, we all die. All our loved ones die. That is the biggest truth and it has been drilled into our heads. But I had never really realised or accepted it. Like most others, I was stupid enough to believe such horrifying things happened only to others. Also, I worked under the assumption that young people rarely die. Elder folks die. Surely, the chances of us, in our twenties and thirties, or other children or teens won’t just die all of a sudden? Why would they? We are relatively healthy and fit. How wrong could I be? I am glad I awakened to the realities of life. You don’t have to be old to die. Any of can die tomorrow.
This awakening has turned out to be a double edged sword in my life. All of a sudden, I feel the need to be prepared for the worst. My definition of ‘worst’ is all my loved ones being dead. My family, my partner, all my associates, everybody being taken away. Me living my life all alone. Nothing terrifies me more than that. I know I sound neurotic, although I am not. I believe if I prepare myself for that kind of an existence, I will never fear anything. Leading a fearless life sounds liberating. I know right now I carry a million fears in my heart, due to all the heavy strings of attachment that tie me to my loved ones.
I call this awakening a double edged sword, because on one hard, it teaches me how to live life. I believe it makes me more compassionate. Now I give more importance to things that matter, and I avoid thinking of things that don’t carry too much meaning. On the other hand, this realisation has changed my perspective to such an extent, that I am unable to live life in the moment. It’s like knowing that the house you live in, the one you love to death, is going to be burned down sooner or later. That a fire is inevitable. What do you think it will do to you?
I now live with a fire extinguisher strapped to my back. Even a tiny spark somewhere and I panic. For example, when my parents health becomes shaky, it fills me with deep fear. For others, it might just be a passing illness. For me, I wonder if it is that final spark that will ultimately burn my beloved abode. Probably the others don’t fear it as much cos they have not fully realised the fact that a fire is inevitable. Or maybe they have, but they are certain they have a long time to go before the fire swallows them. I on the other hand, live with the fear of the fire occurring any minute.
Instead of being happy that my loved ones are alive, the realisation that they might not be alive tomorrow saddens me. I put too much pressure on myself to be in the moment, because I know for sure that it will not be there tomorrow. As a result, the stress does not let me enjoy my present. It’s like knowing your favourite pair of shoes are going to be charred in a week. You decide to make the most of them in the one week you have. You wear them everywhere, admire them, give them some extra love, feel happy that you own such an awesome pair, but at the end of the day, all those thoughts are also accompanied by a lingering sadness. Sadness from knowing that you are losing them soon. This awakening of the ultimate has been a mixed bag of emotions for me. I am happy to have what I have, but I am also sad cos I know I won’t have it for too long.
It was easy to live in the present when I did not entertain thoughts of the impending fire. Now, I want to be able to live in the present, despite being aware of the fire’s sudden emergence. I am so grateful I am getting a chance to live with my family. The four of us spend time laughing in the living room every evening. My papa turns on old Hindi music, which we all savour, along with the tea that mama has prepared. We exchange hugs and kisses. The sister and I are thoroughly pampered on most days. We do live it up and I feel calm and peaceful, when I notice the soft music, the smell of ginger tea, the sound of laughter and love in the air. I pray to God to give me strength to be able to live in the moment forever, with no fear attacking my mind. Because sometimes, enduring the constant weight of the fire extinguisher on your back is not easy.