Everyone is a junkie

The present moment is always the most important moment.

With increasing frequency I’ve noticed that I, as well as the people in my life, tend to spend a lot of time anticipating or looking forward to particular events or occurrences.

“Once I get through this week…”
“After this test is over…”

“When I finally get to go…”
“I can’t wait to see…”

We’ve all heard the expression “living for the weekend” touted here and there. Although often said sarcastically, it is often the truth for people. Perhaps the school or work week is unstimulating or burdensome; whatever the case, we oftentimes drone on through the week, putting forth the minimum effort necessary to get through and be consistent with self-expectations. Then the weekend comes and goes like a flash of light, we’re back to Monday, loathing another week.

The Buddhist yogis have long touted the mantra “No destination, no goal.” What does this really mean in the context of modern life?

The yogis had stumbled upon the realization that one moment is never more important than any other. At first this assertion may seem trite or too philosophical. Yet how can we learn to enjoy ourselves if most of the time we are unsatisfied with what is happening at the present?

When the moment you’ve anticipated arrives – finally you are with your lover, finally you are on vacation, finally you are getting high or partying – you try to hang on to the experience for as long as possible. But you can’t stop the passage of time and soon the long-anticipated event has passed and you are sitting where you were, back in the mundane routine of everyday existence, back to where most time is spent.

If we are not grateful for what is happening at the present moment, we are going to be extremely ill-prepared for the time when we finally get to enjoy ourselves. Each moment we spend in appreciation improves our ability to appreciate. Then when we get the chance to do those things that we really love, we are able to perceive them and experience them at a new level all together.

What are we really trying to accomplish anyway? Would we rather lift up our normal state of existence to new heights or live most of the time in dullness, like junkies living for the next fix. It will never come. There will be no rapture or special day when finally we are happy.

Many people will denounce those who use drugs as abusing or throwing away their lives, when still more people are just as addicted to drugs – drugs that are not ingested but are experienced from the outside in.

Because life is now, existence is always the present and I must practice mindfulness of it. When we can embrace sadness, embrace anger, embrace the feeling of helplessness, embrace loneliness, we will never be alone or governed by those emotions. Soon this finite life will be over and all suffering will cease, and I want to celebrate the highs and lows. Be grateful for the chance to experience the beauty and complexity of these emotions, appreciate them. Celebrate emotional states, celebrate all aspects of reality!

Sean Murphy is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering. He may be contacted at s.murphy6@umiami.edu. He enjoys muffins.