"This moment is the only thing that matters." - Socrates, in The Peaceful Warrior
Wow. I've thought about this blog for a year or so. There have been so many ideas for posts... now that it's a reality, I hardly even know where to begin.
Let's kick this off talking about a movie. Peaceful Warrior. I don't recall the first time I saw the movie, or what motivated me to seek it out and watch it. But it was probably my introduction to the concept of the moment. It was my introduction to mindfulness, even though I wouldn't actually learn of the term mindfulness for another couple of years.
The movie (based on the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by self-help guru Dan Millman) taught many lessons. But the main lesson had to do with being fully present in the moment.
This was an important lesson for me, and one that I still struggle with. I'm an impatient person. I've always been about instant gratification. My mind races from this moment to what will happen next. In the past, I've found myself in moments that I should have been fully enjoying. Moments such as concerts or movies. And yet, rather than being fully present in those moments, I found myself looking forward to them being over. It's not that I wasn't enjoying myself. I was. I wanted the memories. I just didn't want to have to sit through the next "x" number of hours to get those memories.
There's a scene in the movie where Socrates, the philosophical service station attendant played by Nick Nolte, tells Dan that there's something he's been wanting to show him for a long time, and that Dan is finally ready. The next day, they embark on a hike into the mountains near Berkeley, CA. Dan is thrilled. He's anxious, excited, eager. He can't wait for the hike to be over so that he can see whatever it is that Socrates wants to show him. Three hours into the hike, Socrates says that they've arrived. There's nothing remarkable to be seen. Socrates picks up a rock. A very unremarkable rock, and states that this is "the thing". Dan is heartbroken. For hours, he's been excitedly awaiting what was to come. He was happy. And now, he's suddenly no longer happy. The journey was fantastic. The destination, not quite. The lesson, of course, is that life's about the journey. Live in the moment.
Another one of the many lessons in the movie is that there are no ordinary moments. Understanding this makes it easier to be fully present in the moment. So many times during the course of any given day, we feel bored. We feel frustrated. We feel unfulfilled. If, in those moments, we can look around us in a mindful way, we can probably find something beautiful. A child's laughter. A couple holding hands. The warmth of the sun. There's always something going on. Something beautiful. We just have to choose to want to see it. And if you can do that... if you can be fully present in any moment and appreciate the beauty that exists within it, then you can't help but smile.
The movie concludes with the following dialogue, taking place within Dan's mind:
Socrates: Where are you?
Dan Millman: Here.
Socrates: What time is it?
Dan Millman: Now.
Socrates: What are you?
Dan Millman: This moment.