May 19NextPrevious   

“Care of the present”–Daily Metta

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned enough with taking care of the present.”

-–Gandhi (Harijan, 1-25-1935, p. 399)

St. Augustine did not believe that the past, present and future were “times” as much as states of mind. The past is recollection; the future, anticipation; and the present: awareness. Sounds almost like a mystic, doesn’t he? But when applied to the practice of nonviolence, we might translate his understanding into the pragmatic formula offered by Gandhi that we call the Gita Theory of Action: All we can do is take care of the means, and let the ends take care of themselves. We cannot neglect the present in anticipation of some future results. We cannot achieve our desired results if we do not plant its seeds in the present.

Gandhi will tell us time and again that we cannot know the results of our actions–good or bad. Each action–including each thought–has an effect. All we can know is the present. Was that gesture done in kindness? Did I say that with the intention to harm her? Did I respond or react? By examining our motives in this way we can break through old habits and have more control of our choices in the moment, which turns out to be all we can do, and all we need to do.

Experiment in Nonviolence

Spend the day taking care of the present moment. Who or what is in front of you? Start there.

The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299