A few days ago I read a post from one of my friends on Facebook. It said: “With public transport, you know when you’re leaving but you never know what time you’re going to arrive.” He had apparently got home very late.
I had no desire to add further comments about trains being late; most of them arrive on time and we forget to rejoice. Nevertheless, I wanted to manifest some solicitude and made this comment on his page: “The opposite of life: one knows when one arrives but not when one is going to depart…” What came to me spontaneously as a witty remark took me by surprise and made me reflect.
It is sometimes said that life is a journey, but how can it be that we arrive before we leave? We don’t remember leaving, but we know we arrived. This life would therefore be primarily a destination. A breath gives us life. A presence manifests itself. I have arrived, I’m here, I exist! It is time to appreciate.
Some time later I found myself queuing at a supermarket checkout on a very busy day. A man arrived behind me who was obviously in a hurry. He made a remark to no one in particular, expressing his frustration at having to waste precious time. He had gone out at a certain time but didn’t now know what time he would be getting home.
“We spend our lives waiting,” he said in response to my welcoming smile. The conversation took a more pleasant turn after I pointed out that there were worse situations in life. And as we got into the game of exchanging points of view we forgot that the minutes were trickling past until it was our turn at the tills.
Appreciating a moment, and perhaps sharing it with whoever wishes to join in the game, is an excellent way of profiting from each instant that is given to us — like this breath that arrives from nowhere only to return to it.
Prem Rawat tells us that we don’t need a manual because it’s already been written within us: this pressing need to appreciate each instant — not to waste our time. And this breath is an indication of where to turn our attention. There is not a minute to waste.
It is good — really good and precious — that someone like Mr. Prem Rawat should be standing with us in the same proverbial queue, taking the time to make us a smile and to remind us of the real reason for our existence, the one that gives joy and generates a feeling of gratitude within us.
If there were two equal possibilities, the choice would be Cornelian. But fortunately I only have one life and it’s so much simpler that way. No paradox, in fact, as long as I know how to grab hold of that which is always within my reach.
Illustration by Sara Shaffer.