I was thinking about life and the passing of time as I drove south to Quartzsite.
There's a song that has a sample of Alan Watts speaking. This is what he says:
...we’ve simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line. We thought of life by analogy with a journey – with a pilgrimage. Which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end; success or whatever it is or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or dance while the music was being played.I think this is an excellent point. Life is really like music. It's not a solid, constant object; it is changing from moment to moment. It's fleeting, transient. It's not something you enjoy by locking it down, you can't preserve it by worrying or by putting it in a safe. It lasts as long as it does, and then it's over. It's an experience. It's a story. It flows and fades.
Like music... you'll miss the point if think too much about the past or the future. You won't enjoy music if you're constantly plugging your ears and wishing you were at some other point in the song. Even though you only hear a tiny fraction of the song at one time, the perception of the whole as it changes over time is interconnected, and this happens naturally as you focus on the present moment. What is happening now is shaped by what has come before, and has an impact on the future.
Even though a song ends, it's still worth listening to. The value of it is in the present moment. While it lasts.
Too many of us miss out on life. We never learn how to fully experience the present moment, to enjoy it for what it is, accepting the pain and absurdity and pleasure and surprise and hilarity that happen every day. We continually distract and postpone. Enjoyment is for the future, next weekend, next year, after retirement. Or, enjoyment was for the past, in the good old days, and now it's gone. Yet life is always only lived in the present, in the "now" moments. If we don't get good at enjoying now, how will we enjoy our lives?
We're at the concert right now and it only happens once. Do you want to stand in the lobby all night worrying about how you look, or get in there and enjoy the show?