Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Living in the Present

On Sunday, I was able to attend a lecture at the Ganesh mandhir in Queens. It was conducted by two monks (who were pinch-my-cheeks adorable; not sure if it's okay to call a monk that, but the people I was with agreed). They would intermittently ask rhetorical questions to the rest of us and, among others, this one struck me:

"How many of us walk down the street without walking down the street?"

At first, I thought he meant, how many of us envision walking down the street but never get around to it. Then, he began to explain:

"I walk down the street with my iPod"----> For some reason, I don't picture monks with iPods; but hey, it only adds to his cuteness. (He's got a massive grin on his face which doesn't hurt, either.)

"And I realize that I am thinking about where I just came from or where I am about to go or a conflict I had with someone. I'm not really focused on the fact that I am walking down a street."

I thought about how I walk around 2ish miles a day and rarely soak in what's around me. If I had to honestly list the top three residents of my mind during a walk, they would probably be 1.) Ipod 2.) Impending, unfinished work 3.) People (a succinct way to say drama).

"You see, the past does not exist. Neither does the future. Both are figments of our mind. The only thing that is real is the present and by focusing on the present, we enrich the quality of our daily lives."

How crazy is it that I make things which truly do not exist such a HUGE part of my life? Yes, I overthink my way into and out of everything, but this is allowing me to bestow power on things that should be nullified for the most part.

He ended the lecture about a point on how our culture has evolved into a "look busy" culture. Whether it is taking out the Blackberry during a free moment or browsing and refreshing Facebook pages, we are always striving to be "occupied", even if what we are doing in those few seconds/minutes is essentially useless.

I sauntered to my first Hindustani music class with my iPod off and my awareness on.

To twist the words of the great Robert Frost, I realized I was traveling the road very much traveled by and that has made all the difference :)


  1. Hey Saumya, nice blog n post. I had a recap of my NY memories, while reading your post. We are indeed "striving to be occupied" every second..
    Good Luck!

  2. Ah, the beauty of mindfulness! or, I should say, the irony that most of lack mindful thinking. have you read The Dhammapada. Check it out and let me know what you think.

    Looks like NYC is treating you well. Take care hon!