“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” –Thomas Merton
Meeting the present moment can be one of life’s most difficult challenges.
Why else would we spend so much time dreaming of and planning for the future? Why else would we spend so much time dwelling on the past?
It takes faith to believe that there is power in being present. And it takes faith to let go of trying to control the outcomes of our lives.
But the truth is – try as we may to plan for better futures – we don’t really know what is happening or where it is all going. Science tries as hard as religion to give us a sense of certainty and assurance. But in truth, life – even at its best – will always retain a large degree of mystery.
What happened to an airplane over the Indian Ocean? What made a mountainside fall? Why did four of my family members pass away in quick succession?
Will I ever find out? And can I live without knowing?
The more I practice my craft, the more I learn that our greatest wisdom lies inside ourselves. But when we drown out our inner voices with temporary distractions and quick fixes, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn what matters to us most.
We may think we want to know what happened to that plane – but would we rather know how to cope with uncertainty? We may think we want to know about a landslide in Washington – but would we rather know how to grieve for lives lost?
More often than not, our inner wisdom doesn’t give us the answers to questions we think we have, but instead addresses the questions we really have: How to love. How to live. How to be fulfilled.
And those are the answers that will change not only our lives, but our world.