“Not so long ago I’d have called this the goal. But then I encountered Chogyam Trungpa’s liberating insight “The path is the goal.” This simple reminder steers one away from the future—from a concept which, true to its name, remains ever in the future. Whereas this very uncomplicated phrase speaks to training one’s attention on the constant (and indeed, inescapable) realm of the present—the eternal moment which is hardly a moment but rather a field in which the expressions of existence emerge, dissolve, and reemerge in a play of apparently ceaseless transmutation. In this context, time can be defined as a conceptual invention that tracks transmutation through the field of the now. Living well is therefore a practice which can be accomplished at this very moment and only at this very moment.” …………..Craig Deininger is a mythologist, poet, Jungian scholar
As society and individuals, we are so focused on the future that we undervalue the importance of the present moment. When one is highly focused on the future, the effort in trying to achieve a future goal or target moves further away from our efforts. This is illustrated in an aft repeated Zen story.
A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, ”I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it?” The teacher’s reply was casual,” Ten years.”
Impatiently, the student answered, ”But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice every day, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?”
The teacher thought for a moment and said, ”20 years.”
The importance of going with the flow was articulated by Lao Tzu in his epic “Tao Te Ching” In Chapter Eight where he defines the quality of water as analogically equal to the path and says:
A person of great virtue is like the flowing water.
Water benefits all things and contends not with them.
It puts itself in a place that no one wishes to be and thus is closest to Tao.
A virtuous person is like water which adapts itself to the perfect place.
His mind is like the deep water that is calm and peaceful.
His heart is kind like water that benefits all.
His words are sincere like the constant flow of water.
His governing is natural without desire which is like the softness of water that penetrates through hard rocks.
His work is of talent like the free flow of water.
His movement is of right timing like water that flows smoothly.
A virtuous person never forces his way and hence will not make faults.
Alan Watts, the American Buddhist teacher says in his book “Tao-The Watercourse Way”:
“Ambition is the enemy of man. It stunts his ability to simplify the day. It is in simplicity we find peace.
The best way to obtain simplicity, which comes and goes, is to focus on what we can immediately control — this ultimately being ourselves. We also have to leave a little wiggle room too; we are fallible creatures and have to tend to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes.
We cannot control how others react to the world and how they respond to us; this is an impossible feat, no matter how long we’ve known the people in question.”
With all the knowledge that we garner form Jungian psychologist, Taoism and from modern Buddhist scholars, it is amply clear that to in the present moment one experiences the joy of life and activate his full creative potential.
The word “presence” comprises of two words, namely; “present” and “sense”. This means the sensing the full potential of the past and the future at the point of merger at any given moment. This principle is widely advocated in managing and leading complex systems in today’s world through theory known as “Theory U” coined by MIT professor, Otto Scharmer.
Hence the practice of keen awareness of the present moment and the full potential it offers through a process of a generative field in which the expressions of existence emerge, dissolve, and reemerge in a play of apparently ceaseless transmutation provides the needed power to transform and fully live our lives.