One of the benefits that come with being more present to the moment is that we can be more alert and aware of what can be done at any particular moment in order to do what needs to be done.
But there are moments in which there is nothing we can do.
There are some things we can call inevitable.
For example, now we are reading this note and we are not at the gym. That is inevitable. We can say: I don’t want to read this note any more and instead I am going to do gym or whatever. And so we put down the phone or computer and go there, but it will take a few seconds to do that.
Or we can say: I don’t want to be here any more and instead I would like to be in the South of France or some other beautiful place. But we cannot do that now; may be in a few hours, tomorrow or next week.
What is now – not in a few seconds or tomorrow – but right now, the fact that I am here, for example, is inevitable, and this cannot be changed.
I was thinking about this inevitability because of something that happened with my mother a few days ago.
She was visiting me from Buenos Aires, and stayed with me for a few weeks.
She is a very strong woman of 87 years old.
We had a very good time together; I don’t see her very often and it was very beautiful to spend some quality time with her. But then, the time came and she needed to get back.
At a very precise moment, when I was saying goodbye to her at the airport, this whole ‘play’ flashed in my mind, and in that moment I saw that it was inevitable, that to make this moment different, the whole universe had to change.
It was very painful seeing that she needed to go and that she was going to be alone in Argentina. It is a long and complex story (as most stories are), but to make it very brief, I will say I insisted a lot that she could move either with me or with my brother who lives in Spain, but she felt that she needed to go back to take care of her sister (who is older than her and has some complicated medical issues) and there was nothing me or my brother could do to change her mind.
In that moment at the airport I saw the fact that 35 years ago, when I left Argentina as a young man, full of energy, with a very strong desire to discover the world, I never would have thought that a day like this will come: me settled down with a family in a city thousands of kilometers away from the place I was born and my 87 year-old mom alone, with no one to take care of her.
In that moment I saw that this is how things are, and at least up to this moment now (maybe tomorrow something will change and hopefully I will be aware enough to grasp that opportunity), there is nothing I can do to change it.
And when those inevitable things happen, presence is the only ‘solution’.
By ‘solution’ I mean this sense of complete acceptance and embracement, total welcoming of the situation.
Without presence, our tendency is to fight with the inevitability of things. We complain, get upset, resist, resist and resist and then resist some more. Even if something is a fact, we are not be able to let it go, accept it and love it as it is.
But this is exactly what presence allow us to do.
Of course it does not mean we will not try to do something if something can be done, but there is always a limit to what we can do. And it is this limit what we have to allow, accept and embrace.
I am using here the example with my mother, but of course it is the same with many things.
Death is one of those clear examples. My death, her death, anybody’s death.
Some unexpected illnesses, change and old age are also examples of inevitability.
They will happen, and there is a very clear limit to what I or anybody can do about them. That limit is what needs to be embraced.
Otherwise what can we do about it? Resist?
Yes, this is what most people do.
But we can learn to live a better life.
And resisting is one powerful example of what makes for a bad life.
Allowing, accepting and even embracing the inevitable makes a far better life, to say the least.
It does not matter if we like it or not. This embracing has to go beyond our personal opinion of how things are supposed to be.
If somebody would have asked me, I never would have agreed to my mother being alone in Buenos Aires, but from my very early teens, when the first thought appeared in my mind about discovering the world (and who knows what millions of other things happened before that lead to that one thought), a whole infinite web of causes and effects led to that moment in the airport.
In that moment I saw this infinite web of causes and effects affecting each other, combining with each other over and over and over, creating the unbending, unbreakable, uncompromising power of the moment, that moment at the airport, this moment right now.
And it is presence what brings us back to that power.
When we resist that power, we become weak and frail and inadequate.
But when we accept and allow that power, we become that power ourselves.
We become the whole universe.
Allowing, accepting, embracing what is.
This is the power of now.