Like me, do you find yourself holding your breath involuntarily at different times? It can happen if my iPhone volume is on too high and I experience a startled jump, or if I am interrupted while deeply absorbed in a book, or even when a quick glance at a phone message shows a number that could spell potential trouble.
This last example happened to me this past week…right after my monthly oncology visit…I had a great visit and was even given an extra month off before my next visit… which is such a special gift. So now why was I getting a call from them the day after my blood work…one time before when this happened it had to do with one test result from my blood work that needed more examination and testing.
I bravely called back, with fingers crossed and discovered that Dr. Jeter’s office was taking patient testimonials. They wondered if I would be willing to write one for her and send it back. I felt my respiratory system start pumping again while I happily responded that I would be honored to do just that…
One thing I can say about these unexpected and uncertain interruptions is that they do certainly make me “stay in the moment.” My antenna is on full alert and I am solely concentrating on what this moment might hold…negative or positive.
I remember the following excerpt “haunted” my thoughts for a long time…forcing me to look in the mirror and decide if I was really living ‘now” or was I waiting for “right away.” Was I a physical part of the world or simply a ‘ghost’ of myself going through the motions?
Some years ago, I was walking downtown San Francisco with a great friend and a learned Tibetan scholar. I asked him about one of the most striking ways that the Tibetans express the uniqueness of the human condition.
Imagine, they say, that deep in the vast ocean there swims a great and ancient turtle who surfaces for air once every hundred years. Imagine further that floating somewhere in the ocean is a single ox-yoke carried here and there by random waves and currents. What are the chances that when the turtle surfaces, his head will happen to emerge precisely through the center of the ox-yoke? That is how rare it is to be born as a human being!
In the middle of our conversation, I pointed to the crowds of men and women rushing by on the street and I gestured in a way to indicate not only them, but all the thousands and millions of people rushing around in the world. “Tell me, Lobsang,” I said, “if it is so rare to be born a human being, how come there are so many people in the world?”
My friend slowed his pace and then stopped. He waited for a moment, taking in my question. I remember suddenly being able to hear, as though for the first time, the loud and frenetic traffic all around us. He looked at me and very quietly replied, “How many human beings do you see?”
In a flash, I understood the meaning of the story and the idea. Most of the people I was seeing, in the inner state they were in at that moment, were not really people at all. Most were what the Tibetans call “hungry ghosts.” They did not really exist.
They were not really *there*. They were *busy*, they were *in a hurry*. They — like all of us — were obsessed with doing things *right away*. But *right away* is the opposite of *now* — the opposite of the lived present moment in which the passing of time no longer tyrannizes us.
The hungry ghosts are starved for “more” time; but the more time we hungry ghosts get, the more time we “save”, the hungrier we become, the less we actually *live*. And I understood that it is not exactly more time, more days and years, that we are starved for, it is the present moment. “Right Away” is not “Now.”
So until tomorrow…
“I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Funny God Wink…just as I was typing away on today’s post (talking about holding my breath when I am caught off-guard while in deep thought)…the doorbell rang…I jumped involuntarily and held my breath. Then I hurried to the door (still holding my breath) and was delighted to find my friend Cindy Ashley at my door…so much so…that my breath, not only returned, it gushed out… along with my voice. 🙂
Cindy said she had to give me my birthday present early…in fact it really would have gone well with yesterday’s post about face masks.
*Thank you Cindy…and enjoyed discussing and solving all the world’s problems with you yesterday! 🙂
I kept the grandchildren Friday evening while John took Mandy out for her birthday… and then stayed over to watch the children play while they prepared for our Labor Day family holiday and extended birthday combo today!
Inner tubes make great cameo photo frames! I loved watching and photo’ing action shots for jumping and landing on an inner tube in sitting position. *Only children can pull off that kind of stunt.
What a spectacular surprise awaited me last evening….a perfect moon flower bloom!
As I was taking its photo…I kept seeing bits of white on the back of the trellis and underneath the leaves…two more blooms were three quarters of a way open…with another bud behind one..just beginning to start. If they all pull it off that will be four blooms in one evening…one of my best moon flower bloom productions yet! 🙂