Ungrateful hearts are afflicted with a
disease called ďmore.Ē No matter how much they have, itís never
enough. Unbridled desire runs rampant, and joy and contentment get
trampled in the stampede. Prosperity lays an invisible trap called
ingratitude. The more prosperous I am, the less gratitude I feel.
Prosperity no longer lights the fire of thanksgiving in my heart.
Prosperity makes me a slave to the things in my life. I look at all the
things I own without realizing they own me. I know that something is
wrong; I used to be thankful for the good things in life, but now they
drive me crazy. No matter how much I have, I canít get enough. I need
more, and more, and more. The slavery to more drove gratitude from my
What I really need is food, shelter, and love. I need to take the
test of thankfulness. This is the test: I will make a list of
twenty things for which I am grateful. If I canít come up with at
least twenty items on my list, then ingratitude is in control, and I
need to make major changes in the business of life until the fire of
thanksgiving burns brightly in my heart. I wonít allow what I
have, or donít have,
to ruin my life. I will live as if I am a thankful person.
Copyright © 2013
Of all the challenges I
face each day, living in the moment is probably the most difficult. I
know I should be savoring each evanescent nanosecond that races through
my life, but the truth is too much of the time I'm somewhere other than
here. No matter where my body is, my mind is someplace else.
Westerners are good at not living in the moment. In fact, they are
specialists at living somewhere other than here.
Cellular telephones and I-Pods fit nicely into Somewhere Other Than
Here Societies. In these societies you can't tell where people
are. Their body may be in Boston, but their mind can be anywhere. Walk
down any street, and you'll see dozens of people plugged in to other
worlds. Whether they are talking on their cell phone or listening to
music doesn't matter. What counts is they aren't with you in your
Folks talking on cell phones while driving cars
routinely ram other vehicles, because their mind is in a different place
than their car. They are somewhere other than here.
Try having a conversation with people who are
listening to music through headphones. You can't tell whether the
person is paying attention to you as their head bobs right and left and
up and down. I don't mind people listening to music, but for heavens
sake, shed those headphones while you're talking to me. I want to know
that I'm actually having a conversation with someone who is in my world.
The picture at top of this page was taken from the summit of a volcano
on Graciosa Island in the Canaries. As I look down, I have a choice. I
can bop along the volcano's crest with music blaring in my headphones,
or I can shed the headgear and listen to the crashing surf below. I can
hear and feel the howling high altitude winds buffeting me at the top,
or I can plug in my headphones and miss it all. While there's nothing
wrong with enjoying my favorite tunes on the summit of old smoky, why
not spend a few minutes focusing on the things found only at the
volcano's peak. Surely there must be something unique about the summit
that you can savor.
Sailing offshore in a yacht makes it easier to live in the moment. You
are so in tune with the wind and waves that even a slight change in sea
state immediately grabs your attention; it will wake you up out of a
deep sleep. That's how single-handed sailors keep their boat moving
around the clock. They obviously have to sleep some time, and because
they are living totally in the moment, they automatically wake up if
anything is amiss. If they're not in the moment as they sail across the
Pacific, they may not make it to the other side. Living in the moment
keeps them from falling overboard. Real mariners don't wear headphones
when they go forward to make sail changes, because they want to live to
see another day. Mindful sailors are survivors.
When I'm at sea, living in the moment means I am
paying attention to what I am doing and what my boat is doing. I live
each day in a mindful manner. I enjoy the sun when it peeks over the
horizon and lights up my world. The morning sky tells me what the
weather will be like that day. Each wave passing under my hull has a
message. Large rolling swells that shouldn't be there tell me there's a
distant storm churning away and throwing off swells in my direction.
The familiar sound of creaking timber tells me that all is well onboard,
and new sounds I've never heard before tell me to investigate their
source, because something is different on Exit Only, and I need to know
it's not a problem. Mindful living is part and parcel of the offshore
sailor's life; it gives him the upper hand in his sometimes uneasy truce
with a wily sea.
I suspect that the farther you are from metropolis, the easier it is to
live in a mindful manner. Out on the sea you live in a private world,
and it's quiet in the sense that there are no man-made sounds blaring in
In metropolis every restaurant and department store pumps sound into
your head, because they want you to buy what they are selling. When
there's music bouncing around inside your head, it pushes buttons that
suspend your good judgment, and you impulsively buy things you don't
really need. They don't want you to have a silent shopping or dining
experience, because they want to control you by putting exciting sounds
in your ears. This isn't some type of sinister plot that's trying to
take over your life. All they want is your money, and it's basically
harmless, except that it contributes to mindless living.
Unconscious living is typical in Somewhere Other Than Here Societies.
Living in metropolis is an uphill struggle if you want to live in a
mindful manner. There's too much noise, too many bright lights, too
much hustle and bustle, too much time spent listening to I-pods and
talking on cell phones. All of these forces conspire to prevent you
from living in the moment.
The big problem with living somewhere other than here
is that you miss out on your life. You have a tangential existence that
experiences real life for only milliseconds before you head off again to
some place other than here. That may be ok for you, but it doesn't work
As for me and my boat, we are going to live in the moment.
Occasionally, I'll listen to some I-tunes, and I'll answer the cell
phone when it rings, but I've got my feet firmly planted in the real
world, and that's exactly where I'm going to stay. This moment is all I
really have, and I'm going to immerse myself in it.
When I live in the moment, life is good.