A traveler on the road
Hello again, fellow Gusties! I hope you all are enjoying yourselves as of late. And when I say that I hope you are enjoying yourselves, I am not just saying this as a polite way of starting an article, although it works for that purpose as well. I truly hope that you are enjoying the present to the fullest extent possible, because in life we are only given a limited amount of time to enjoy ourselves and the situations we find ourselves in.
No matter how stressful school becomes, no matter how painful the weather may be, no matter how sick we may feel, it is in our best interest and the interest of those around us to realize our current situation as it is.
As a college student, I know how daunting our future appears. Student loan debts are at an all time high, all kinds of terror are being struck around the world at what seems to be an ever increasing rate, and our future job security is anything but guaranteed.
However, with all this in mind, there is nothing currently affecting the moment we find ourselves in besides our own attitude. External difficulties may appear to hinder our progress, but in reality, it is just another obstacle that can be overcome if our heart and soul are put into the endeavor.
The ancient Chinese text known as the Tao Te Ching tells us: “a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.” This is an idea I wish to convey to everyone. It is not our future destination we should be worrying about, but the moment we find ourselves in, a moment that if we look hard enough, is the only thing that exists in a meaningful way.
Although I have discussed this idea in a previous article, I do believe that the present can be used as a powerful tool on the road to enlightenment. By focusing on the present, we may even begin to realize the nature of life itself. For as long as what we do in the present is beneficial to our future, we do not have to even worry about the future.
I have always been taught that it is one’s own attitude that determines one’s progress in life, and the philosophy of awakening to the present runs directly parallel with this notion. By seeing the present for what it really is, the only thing that matters—we can make the most of it and be free to enjoy it without having to worry about illusionary thoughts about the past or the future.
The idea that one has complete control over their life can be a very empowering feeling, or an overwhelming one, depending on how one views the situation. However, I would argue that having complete control over one’s own life is the exact thing that makes us human. It is the right to think, to choose, and to act in the present that distinguishes human beings from other beings on this planet. This gives us as humans a very special opportunity to live out our lives in a meaningful way.