We take a photo and might think we have captured the moment. But in reality the moment is so much more and if we fully participate in that moment we are fully alive. Immediately we snap the photo the moment is gone and we are removed from it. The only way to experience a moment is to be fully present to it. If we seek to capture or possess the moment we lose it.
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise (Eternity by William Blake)
Jesus always taught that a non possessive attitude to life was key to happiness: “those who try to save their life will lose it; those who lose their life will save it” (Luke 17:33).
The daily practice of meditation is teaching me (I am a slow learner) to appreciate the moment, not to experience it as a consumer, but to appreciate it and be thankful that I am alive in this wonderful moment, this wonderful universe. Thich Nhat Hahn, the Buddhist monk, teaches us to be mindful of the present moment through the following simple exercise, focusing on the in and out breaths and saying:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.
After a while you may shorten this exercise to the words: calming (in), smiling (out), present moment (in) and wonderful moment (out).
Just spend a little while gazing at the stars on a clear night and you will know. Gratitude and celebration and praise belong together and are the natural response while being in the moment. Life’s meaning comes from our awareness of and response to the goodness, the beauty, the grace of God that shines through every moment. We are happy when we reflect that light and see it in the interconnectedness of everything and everyone.