In the movie ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ Po is worried about what people will think of him. Whether or not he will succeed in becoming a dragon warrior, to which Grand Master Oogway says, “You are too concerned with what was and what will be. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called present.”
We are like Po too. There is no way we can predict what the future holds for us. And we cannot go back to the past and change anything either. Whatever we have – pleasant or unpleasant- all we have is ‘this moment.’ Unfortunately, we fail to live in the moment.
It is a pity, though. Because the best experiences in life are always lived in the present moment. Take a second, remembering any past event that you consider to be your best experience. It could be that time when you first fell in love, college days, that music concert, that tasty food, or that moment with families. You might have great memories of those beautiful moments. Still, the joy you have recalling those memories pales in comparison to what you actually felt at that moment.
“But how can we find joy in every present moment?”
That is a tricky question, and my yoga guru says, “Joy does not simply happen to you. You have to choose it, and you have to choose every day. And the more you learn to choose it within yourself, the more options you have.”
So what does ‘joy within ourselves’ mean?
Let’s first understand the difference between superficial and real happiness. Superficial happiness depends on external circumstances such as food, products, job, title, relationships, family, etc. There is nothing wrong with seeking such happiness. In fact, it is beautiful that we get to experience such external joy daily. But we fall into the trap when we believe our happiness is dependent on these outward circumstances. Reality is our real pleasure is hidden within us, and that comes with being curious about ourselves.
How can we practice finding joy within us?
Just observing the way we think, we act, we react, we talk, we listen, we smile, we frown, or we fear without any judgment can be empowering. We probably do not need all these external circumstances to be able to find peace within ourselves. Perhaps, just being ourselves, living in the moment, and creating our own sunshine can bring joy for us.
And here comes the big question – “Is life like being stuck in bad traffic?”
My yoga guru often says, “Life is like being stuck in bad traffic. Imagine you are stuck in traffic and you are late for the meeting. You are angry, frustrated, and worried. But what can you do? Yes, you could have left home earlier, but that past is gone. Yes, you want the traffic to move soon. But you do not have any control over the future. The only thing that you have is the present. And in the present moment, you are stuck. Now the choice is yours. Do you want to listen to music and enjoy your present moment? Or frown regretting the past or worrying about the future?”
That is the power of being in the PRESENT. No wonder as Grand Master Oogay said, “It is the gift.” At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness, and the more we learn to find it within ourselves, the more we are in control of our happiness.
What do you think, friends? Please share your interpretation of this quote.