I feel like making a plug for my favorite cause, but this really applies to the community.
We just had earthday and I am an activist for protecting the earth. I can remember waking up one night and thinking to myself: “this body is going to die and I may not see the earth and its creatures again” – why am I dedicating myself to this? Why, especially, am I thinking about things that are way past the present moment?
Then yesterday, a friend was talking about living in the present and her Buddhism in response to my commenting on how young people are depressed about what’s happening to our planet. After thinking about this for a while I saw that this paradox doesn’t really exist. Compassion is the issue. Giving of ourselves to something bigger than ourselves feels really good.
So my thought I want to pass along to anyone who is feeling bad and is visiting this site today is: try doing something for another, for the larger community or for non-human creatures or the planet (which is alive). This may help you feel better and it will help someone/something else (at least possibly).
This may be obvious and oft-repeated advice but I can’t help wanting to make it because I am acutely aware of the decline of our environment and (as with other crisis) it is out there even when we are sad and miserable and don’t know what our purpose is.
I think it is a kind of balance between present and future. Even going to work for a living is doing something for the future- you don’t reap the rewards until the end of the week, or month, or whenever payday is. When you buy groceries you are not doing it to satisfy something now, but to satisfy your hunger in a few hours or a few days. People have to plan for the future to enjoy the present.
But most forget that the reverse is also true. You must be able to live in the present to plan for the future. The problem with always planning for the future is that once you get there, you go on to plan something else. All plans are a waste unless you can appreciate what you have.
So with work you enjoy the present moment of the work (if it’s enjoyable work) but make plans to use the money made. With grocery shopping you enjoy the walk up and down the isles, seeing the wonderful produce, and talking, but still plan to make a meal later.
I think it is just as bad to never live in the present as it is to never do something with delayed benefits. We should try to always do both. Enjoy the activity for what it is, but also recognize the benefits of certain activities for the future.
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