7 Ways to Live in This Endless Moment

Liv­ing in This End­less Moment means find­ing bal­ance, clar­i­ty and a sense of pur­pose and direc­tion. Some hints!

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1. Now is all there is

If I had to con­dense down all of the client issues I dealt with in my 32-year-long coun­selling career, I would say it comes down to this: liv­ing in the past or the future is deadly.

It is easy to latch on to some tragedy from the past or pine for some glim­mer of hope in the future, and there­by to waste one’s life. Yet, the pull to look inside is strong.

Inside? Of course. No mat­ter how much you believe your ver­sion of your past sto­ry, no mat­ter how you imag­ine your future will be, it’s all a fan­ta­sy.

Nothing you think happened, 
happened the way you think. 
And nothing you imagine, 
is going to work out 
as you imagine. 

The key to these sev­en ideas about liv­ing in this end­less moment is how they relate to the sev­enth one. 

The Mid­dle Way is the Buddha’s dis­cov­ery. he found it in his body as he sought enlight­en­ment. He dis­cov­ered that it lies between 

  • aus­ter­i­ty (starv­ing and abus­ing him­self) and 
  • excess (a life of lux­u­ri­ous, con­spic­u­ous consumption.) 

The Mid­dle Way is not a replace­ment for the oth­er two, but rather an accep­tance of all of it, by choos­ing the equa­nim­i­ty of the Middle.

It is so that we will end­less­ly reflect upon our imag­ined past and imag­ined future. It is non-help­ful to try to stop, and also non-help­ful to give your­self grief for doing it. 

Alternative: Embrace the Here and Now

Remind your­self that past and future is illu­sion. Nei­ther direc­tion is help­ful, and most­ly keeps us stuck in what is not work­ing. Hold your sto­ries light­ly, with­out judge­ment, and bring your­self back to this moment. 

Ask: What can I do right now that will strength­en and broad­en my expe­ri­ence of myself?

2. Life isn’t fair

Shift (and shit…) hap­pens. If you think life is sup­posed to be fair, you are in for a rocky ride. 

Life is, and all kinds of stuff hap­pens. Birth, liv­ing, death — and much of it out of our control. 

I can guar­an­tee you will expe­ri­ence the death of oth­ers, includ­ing peo­ple you love. You will expe­ri­ence betray­al, often by peo­ple you love. You will be aban­doned, often by peo­ple you love. 

You will be unjust­ly blamed, judged, pun­ished. And then, you will die. 

I know. You think you “should” be spe­cial, and that stuff like this “shouldn’t” happen — and espe­cial­ly to you. After all, what did you do to deserve this? (I heard that exact line, often, from clients…)

Many people waste their lives trying to get others to treat them ‘right.’ Somehow, 
a) it never happens, and 
b) they meet, again and again, 
people who do not treat them right. 

Maybe they are look­ing for the wrong thing.

Alternative: Life Just IS

What’s going on out there is, for the most part, out of our con­trol. Declar­ing, “It’s not fair that the world isn’t fair!” doesn’t make the world fair. You’re here to be you, dis­cov­er you, and to live out your path of pur­pose. Part of that walk is to deal effi­cient­ly, ele­gant­ly, and firm­ly with what­ev­er the world throws at you. 

Ask: What can I do right now to let go of my judge­ments and do what I need to do, for me?

3. No one is coming

This line was on a framed sign on my supervisor’s wall. 

Anoth­er ridicu­lous belief is that res­cue is coming — either in the form of a celes­tial cow­boy com­ing to end the world and take you off to live in the clouds, or in the earth­ly ver­sion of res­cue from the man or woman who will ‘com­plete you.’ 

Hollywood loves rescue fantasies.
The good guy saves the damsel in distress,
and vanquishes the baddies.
Nice. Not valid, but prevalent.

In this end­less moment… “No one is com­ing.” No one is going to make it all bet­ter for you. No one is going to cov­er the pud­dles of your life with their cloak. 

Many of you will have been wast­ing your life try­ing to be ‘nice to oth­ers’ so they’ll be nice to you. Same idea. Sac­ri­fice your life for anoth­er, and they’ll do the same for you. Ever notice that it doesn’t work, you’re mis­er­able, feel­ing put upon, and no one has come to res­cue you

Back to # 2 – life isn’t fair. It’s not a zero sum game. Wait­ing for res­cue or giv­ing your life away in hopes that some­one will do the same for you is a mook’s game.

Alternative: Rescue Yourself, from Yourself

Make res­cu­ing your­self your top pri­or­i­ty. The only per­son who can end the games you are stuck in is you. Let go of wait­ing, wast­ing your life, doing your life as oth­ers demand. Be yourself.

Ask: Is how I am act­ing and view­ing my life, right now, help­ing or hin­der­ing my under­stand­ing and my per­for­mance? Who (or what) am I wait­ing for? 

Then: let it go and move on. 

4. Be grateful

Most grat­i­tude is con­di­tion­al. As in, I’ll be grate­ful to you after you’ve done some­thing for me. You go first. 

My mother-in-law has a needlepoint in her bathroom.
It’s of a bear looking into the mirror.
Text: “Smile!”
“You go first.”

My nature is to be some­what morose (god, I love that word…) and I notice that all I have to do is look at Dar­bel­la and I’m suf­fused in grat­i­tude. Because we accept each oth­er as we are, not attempt­ing to fix each oth­er, but sim­ply being with each oth­er, grat­i­tude is what is left when the dra­ma goes.

It’s easy to be grate­ful for stuff we judge to be good. Hard­er, much hard­er, to sim­ply be grate­ful for (as Zor­ba says) the whole cat­a­stro­phe. How can you be grate­ful for death, tragedy, sad­ness, betrayal? 

Well, it’s one of those Mid­dle Way answers. If you bitch, moan and com­plain about it all, what changes? 

Grat­i­tude is not con­don­ing the evil that hap­pens. Rather, I am grate­ful for hav­ing sur­vived yet anoth­er les­son. In a sense, I am grate­ful for hav­ing (so far) sur­vived and learned. 

Easy? NO! Essen­tial? YES

Alternative: Adopt an “attitude of gratitude”(Robert Schuller.)

You are who you are because of the life you have lived. If you want some­thing dif­fer­ent, do some­thing dif­fer­ent. But let go of har­bour­ing anger and resent­ment. Not because what­ev­er hap­pened wasn’t dif­fi­cult, but because what­ev­er hap­pened was what hap­pened, and is thus ‘the stuff you’re made of.’

Ask: what in my life (body, mind, spir­it, his­to­ry) am I refus­ing to accept and ‘bless?’ How is this help­ing me?

5. Give it away

I like this atti­tude — giv­ing as a way of being of ser­vice. This End­less Moment is a life-choice that ben­e­fits both “self” and oth­ers. It’s Karmic, in the best sense of that idea — what goes around comes around.

Your job is to give yourself away!

We all need to make a liv­ing. But most peo­ple tend to wait and wait to find the per­fect moment to be them­selves. They with­hold their pas­sion, their tal­ents, their gifts, wait­ing to be “appre­ci­at­ed.” Or, they get into the “I’m not doing this if I don’t get paid” mentality.

Remember the Middle Way. This not a paean to ‘free.’ It’s a suggestion, like all of these, to make yourself — your skills, knowledge, gifts — available to those around you. 

My mom, love­ly woman that she was, was 

  • a good cook, and 
  • a lay minister. 

I men­tion those two things togeth­er because, 

  • when asked for a recipe, she’d agree, then leave out ingre­di­ents, so the per­son mak­ing the recipe would end up with some­thing ‘not quite as good.’ 
  • in all her years in the min­istry, she only she wrote 10 ser­mons, which she trot­ted out when asked to preach. Peo­ple would ask her for a copy, and she’d refuse.

Now, here’s the punch-line. After she died, we cleaned out her ‘stuff.’ None of her ‘spe­cial’ recipes were writ­ten down. And she had a lit­tle lock box in her clos­et. In it were her 10 ser­mons, which we threw out, not know­ing what else to do with them. Thus, noth­ing sur­vived her.

Alternative: Your mission is to put yourself out there

Do this so that some gift of yours remains after you die. If some­one asks for help, an opin­ion, what­ev­er, give freely. 

DO NOT give (advice, opin­ions, etc.) if oth­ers do not ask, (that’s just rude.)

Ask: What am I doing, right now, to make a dif­fer­ence, as I share my gifts?

6. Be passionate

Pas­sion is all about being engaged. Immersed. Over­come. To do so, you have to let down your guard­ed­ness, and tear into life and liv­ing, with verve and pleasure.

Many, many choose to disengage based on fearing, “What will people think?” They are strongly pulled to passionate, full living, and back off because of the pressure to conform. 

Now, of course, there is a price to pay for being pas­sion­ate, and it is exact­ly the con­se­quences of liv­ing pas­sion­ate­ly that lead so many to repress themselves.

Alternative: Throw Yourself into Life

What is it, exact­ly that you are wait­ing for? You only get one time through, and to sit on your hands while dress­ing in gray sack­cloth is not what you or the world needs. With­out wait­ing for per­mis­sion, be your­self, and throw cau­tion to the wind. Put your­self out there, with full under­stand­ing of the consequences.

Ask: What do I bring to the table that is unique­ly mine, that is my gift to the world? How can I pas­sion­ate­ly engage with life, with oth­ers and with myself?

7. Live the Middle Way of This Endless Moment

Of course, this is all about liv­ing the Mid­dle Way. This path is about rec­og­niz­ing the fal­la­cy of black and white, rules based liv­ing and think­ing. Most lives stall on the “What is the right way to live?” ques­tion. They stall because all that ever hap­pens is an inter­nal rehash­ing of the same old thoughts, dreams, fears.

Alternative: Just Do It!

Walk. Do. Act. Be. Learn. Inspire. Cre­ate. Be pas­sion­ate. Be alive. Be juicy. All with­out attach­ment to results, opin­ions, pres­sure to conform.

Ask: What is my next step, and how can I walk it with pas­sion, verve, and purpose?

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