The Beauty of Living in the Present Moment
Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting many incredible people who have had a profound effect on me. They are wonderful examples of living in the moment; of how practicing this philosophy can change not only the Bare Living individual who lives in the now, but how much they can affect those around them. I would like to share a couple of their inspirational stories with you.
When I was working on a doctorate degree, I had the good fortune of meeting Verna, a wonderful woman who lived in a local nursing home. Verna was basically alone in the world. Both her husband and son had died. Her only grandson was a drug addict, and she hadn’t heard from him in years. To top it all off, she was plagued by numerous health problems. And yet, Verna was one of the happiest people I have ever met. Instead of moping around thinking about all of the things that had gone wrong in her life, she spent her days trying to make everyone in the nursing home feel better. She chose to be happy, in spite of her life’s circumstances. “God has kept me here for a reason,” she said cheerfully. That reason was to reach out to other people and fill their days with as much joy as Verna could provide for them. Verna found peace and contentment by refusing to succumb to negative thoughts, and by accepting “what is” in spite of her experiences and surroundings. I was drawn to Verna because of her positive attitude, and I rarely missed our weekly breakfast together. Though she has passed away, I’ve never forgotten her.
Another good friend is Betty, an inspiring woman whom I met in a meditation group. When Betty was in her thirties, she began having severe medical problems. She talks about the near death experience she had when her heart stopped during surgery. Betty describes it as a blissful, intense and mystical feeling. She was “at one with the Universe and enjoyed the ultimate sense of peace.” She was revived, but never fully recovered. The result has been years of poor health and living in intermittent episodes of pain. Her life looked very bleak, and she had given up on pretty much everything. While undergoing physical therapy, Betty met a little girl who was also having treatments. The child had such a positive outlook on life, she inspired Betty to accept her own situation, to love life, and to live in the moment. That was 35 years ago. Today Betty uses a walker, wears braces on her legs, and lives alone. Still, she is one of the most peaceful, loving people I have ever met. She is totally comfortable with her physical problems, and has learned to love life. While meditating, Betty often has mystical experiences, harkening back to her near death experience.