Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Living in the Moment
A story about living in the moment- This beautiful heartfelt story comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, the World Renown Buddhist Monk from Vietnam. I can’t think of another person that has attain a level of Spirituality and Enlightenment than Thich Nhat Hanh. He embodies the meaning of an Indigo that knows their path and purpose. I was moved deeply when I read this story. In it, you’ll see the simplicity of life and how one can see the face of God in the most humble of places when you are living in the moment. It is all in how you choose to view the world. The question is do you really see when you look? It is being aware of the moment, in being able to really see. Please read this story and take away from it the importance of being aware and living in the moment through the eyes of a child as well as an Adult.
“Vietnam has extraordinary rainstorms. One day, I sat by the window of a friend’s home and watched a scene I could have watched forever. Across the street was a low-roofed dry goods store. Coils of rope and barbed wire, pots and pans hung from the eaves. Hundreds of items were on display- fish sauce and bean sauce, candles, and peanut candy. The store was so packed and dimly lit; it was difficult to distinguish one object from another as the rainstorm darkened the street. A young boy, no more than five or six, wearing a simple pair of shorts, his skin darken by hours of play in the sun, sat on a little stool on the front step of the store. He was eating a bowl of rice, protected by the overhang. Rain ran off the roof making puddles in front of where he sat. He held his rice bowl in one hand and his chopsticks in the other, and he ate slowly, his eyes riveted on the stream of water pouring from the roof. Large drops exploded into bubbles on the surface of a puddle. Though I was across the street, I could tell that his rice was mixed with pieces of duck egg and sprinkled with fish sauce. He raised his chopsticks slowly to his mouth, savoring each small mouthful. He gazed at the rain and appeared to be utterly content, the very image of well-being. I could feel his heart beating. His lungs, stomach, liver, and all his organs were working in perfect harmony. If he had a toothache, he could not have been enjoying the effortless peace of that moment. I looked at him as one might admire a perfect jewel, a flower, or a sunrise. Truth and paradise revealed themselves; I was completely absorbed by his image. He seemed to be a divine being, a young god embodying the bliss of well-being with every glance of his eyes and every bite of rice he took. He was completely free of worry or anxiety. He had no thought of being poor. He did not compare his simple black shorts to the fancy clothes of other children. He did not feel sad because he had no shoes. He did not mind that he sat on a hard stool rather than a cushioned chair. He felt no longing. He was completely at peace in the moment. Just by watching him, the same well-being flooded my body.
A violet shadow flitted across the street. The boy looked up for an instance, his eyes startled by the blur of bright color, and then, he returned his gaze to the water bubbles dancing on the puddle. He chewed his rice and egg carefully, and watched the rain in delight. He paid no more attention to the passersby, two young women dressed in red and purple ao dai, carrying umbrellas. Suddenly he turned his head and looked down the street. He smiled and became so absorbed in something new, I turned to look down the street myself. Two young children were pulling a third child in a wooden wagon. The three did not have a stitch of clothing on and were having a grand time splashing in the puddles. The wheels of the wagon spun round and round, spraying water whenever the wagon hit a puddle. I looked back at the boy on the doorstep; He had stopped eating to watch the other children. His eyes sparkled. I believe my eyes reflected his in that moment, and I shared his delight. Perhaps my delight was not as great as his, or perhaps it was greater because I was so aware of being happy.
Then I heard him call out, “Coming Mama,” and he stood up and went back into the shop. I guess his mother had called him back in to refill his rice bowl, but he did not come out again. Perhaps he was eating with his parents, who scolded him for dawdling so long over his first bowl. If that was the case, poor child! His parents did not know he had just been in paradise. They did not know that when the mind divides reality up, when it judges and discriminates, it kills paradise. Please do not scold the sunlight. Do not chastise the clear stream, or the little birds of spring.
How can you enter paradise unless you become like a little child? You can’t see reality with eyes that discriminate or base all their understanding on concepts. As I write these lines, I long to return to the innocence of childhood. I want to play the Vietnamese children’s game of examining the whorls of a friend’s hair- “one whorl your allegiance is with your father, two whorls with your mother, three whorls with your aunt, many whorls with your country.” I’d love to make a snowball and hurl it all the way back to Vietnam. “