The Beauty of Being Present

By Eelee Soo

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. “

 

– Matthew 7:12

So is it the breakdown of humanity, or the negligence of social instinct that has altered the importance of being present? Has humanity lost its mind or has evolution bloated our ego? The bible clearly states that we should do to others what you would have them do to you, yet here I sit, with a man who is clearly presently involved with his phone. A social – he must be talking to somebody, I suppose – yet unsocial phenomenon of this century.

So here I sit, wondering if this is genuinely how the other party would like to be treated. Out of spite, and quite possibly to fit in, I would usually pull out my phone in “unity” – as if – and see who can prolong this impending doom. But today, I sit here wondering how long it’ll take for the other party to realize I’m trying to be present, not for any Tom, Dick or Harry, but really just for you.

 

Maybe 5, maybe 10. Like a warrior, I waited for the possibility of living in the moment to conquer the anxiety of life sneaking up on me. I’m trying not to confuse sadness with the importance of having somebody be present.  On the contrary, I see the beauty of putting one foot before the next. As life is such. The only way to enjoy tomorrow is to enjoy the present.

I’m no saint myself. With no doubt, sometimes I catch myself being the criminal of my own crime. I will admit that life will be vastly different without a phone. I can envision a world where I let the crippling fear of social awkwardness get the better of me. So instead of fully utilizing every ounce of the extrovert in me, I’ve learnt to say no. No to invitations I could not care less about, or demands that compromise the time I have for myself. Firstly, this decreases the need for me to pull out my phone in situations where it’s totally uncalled for. Most importantly, I find myself being more present in the times where I actually accept or offer an invitation.

 

Well, maybe the question isn’t if we are a prisoner of our phone, but if we let ourselves become felonious of not being present. Well, it is afterall a choice, right? Correct me if I’m wrong.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it”

 

- Thích Nhất Hạnh

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