Is the present the only reality?

Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile.

Believe me!  Not being present in your life is the greatest loss you can experience.   Life is the most valuable thing you possess.  Nothing you may own, no matter whether it is money, property, power, authority, prestige, etc. is worth more than your life, your time for living.  Life is the only thing that matters, without it, we are simply nothing.  At my age I am struck by the fact that it is so difficult for us to comprehend and deal with this reality and that it was impossible for me to understand and value this essential truth before now.   We are life.  Not that of yesterday, nor that of tomorrow, the life we have at the moment.  There is no other reality.  Do not take my word for it, feel it in yourself.  What difference do you find between a millionaire who has just died and is in a very expensive coffin surrounded by important people and you who pass by the cathedral where they are holding the vigil without a single coin in your pocket?  Both of you are present and the only difference on your part is that you are alive.  The fact that nothing else distinguishes us implies that life is the most important thing that we can possess.

Therefore you can sit embittered in a gold chair if that is how you are feeling, but you are not living your life, you are distracted from it, brooding about what has provoked that bitterness.  You believe you are powerful, but you are nothing because you are wasting your life.  Life is harmony, consistency and peace of mind even in the noisiest and most intense of your activities.  You can be painting a stormy sea feeling the pleasure of expressing yourself with a paintbrush because you know and can express what a storm at sea is like.  You cannot, by contrast, show yourself and express the fact that you love nature without lying to yourself about the destruction that you are causing it.

The greatest value that we possess is the present moment and deciding and living by investing in it is the greatest and truest power we possess.  We lie to ourselves when we do not live attentively but want to give the impression that we are alive.  It sounds to me like the “walking dead”.  It produces a kind of sorrow to have to see things like that.