Several days ago I stepped out into the misty rain-filled night to take my gratitude walk. After several minutes of walking, I exhausted my list of gratitudes and allowed my mind to wander. You know the type of thoughts I’m talking about, the kind where I was trying to figure out my life, very lofty thoughts of problems that needed to be resolved and issues that needed to be fixed. “When will I ever move past this? How am I ever going overcome that?” I thought.
As my mind was swirling to find answers, my eyes were drawn up to the silhouette of a tall tree in my neighborhood cast against the white night sky. “This is all that matters,” I heard my inner Divine voice say. “This tree?” I asked skeptically though it was a beautiful sight. “This moment,” the voice answered. Suddenly I felt the heaviness of my thoughts melt away and instead felt the sweetness of this present moment.
Years ago when I was at a silent retreat I attend each year, I was walking the labyrinth hoping to make some important decisions that needed to be made in my life. The last two years at this retreat, I had made some powerful breakthroughs and was waiting for this year’s breakthrough to occur as well. Nothing was happening, and the retreat was almost over.
On the labyrinth I called out to God, “Why am I not figuring anything out?” The reply came, “The reason you haven’t figured anything out is because there is nothing for you to figure out. You will have every answer you need when you need it. Right now I want you to be fully present here in this exact spot at this exact moment.”
So I listened to the birds cooing in the trees. I felt the wind brush against my skin. I noticed my foot connecting to the earth each time I took a step. And I felt the richness of that exact moment in that exact spot. I did not receive a single answer to my questions that day, but when it was time, I had every answer I needed at the exact moment I needed it.
How many moments of our lives do we trade in for the regret of the past and the anxiety of the future? How many moments do we discard by thinking we have to understand everything, resolve everything, figure out everything before we can be at peace? What would happen if we lived more in this exact moment here and now?
In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle wrote, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” How would our experience on this earth shift if we really lived our lives in this exact moment?
Towards the end of that rainy gratitude walk, I found myself standing under a little tree with sprawling branches. I looked up into the tree watching light from the streetlamp bounce off thousands of tiny raindrops gently dripping from each branch.
Somehow as glittering raindrops fell onto my face, I knew that all those lofty problems I thought were so important just a few minutes ago were really just part of my life unfolding. I knew that I would have the answers I needed when I needed them and that obsessing over the answers would not bring them any sooner.
Suddenly I knew in this exact moment that all is well, that I have everything I need, that I am completely safe. So I paused a little longer under that dripping tree sinking deeply into that exact moment in that exact spot, thanking God for it.