In the moment?

“Live in the moment” and “seize the day” are popular sayings that can easily be equated with hedonism and the left-hand tantric doctrines of India and Tibet. These sayings can create minds that do not live in but rather depend on the moment. Past and future are purposely folded into a planned, contrived “present” that obliterates consciousness for sensation, a kind of cheap mysticism of what exists in the material and is ephemeral. Being human, there will always be the temptation of delight, the burning of the candle at both ends, to quote the famous poem (Edna St. Vincent Millay). But the simplicity universal to all sages provides what is not contrived but is nevertheless real and cumulative. This suggests an attentiveness rooted in the real but not in the senses only. Perhaps the point is not to seek exuberance or ecstasy at all, so that living in the moment really is achievable in every moment not from any effort on our part but from letting everything else — everything contrived — go.