Living Five Minutes at a Time
“The Fifth Remembrance is “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.” In the sutra we see clearly that living in the present moment does not preclude our thinking about the past or the future, but we must dwell in the present moment so that whenever we look deeply into the past or the future, we are free and we are able to overcome our fears and our sadness concerning these things.” “The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone” © Thich Nhat Hanh
I like Thich Nhat Hanh because his way of speaking is full of common sense and compassion, things this world cannot do without. “Living in the present moment” doesn’t mean that no planning can occur. This quote says to me, “You need to make plans and start implementing them now because you will have to live with the consequences of your (in)actions later.”
Barry lives five minutes at a time. Part of that is the Huntington’s. Part of it, I suspect, is being retired. He doesn’t want the responsibility of planning and executing. That is fine—as long as you have someone else taking up the slack and handling all the responsibilities.
I was asking him about preparing an Advance Directive and making his desires official and on paper. His response? “I thought you already had Power of Attorney.” In other words, “You handle it, Cindy. I want nothing to do with any of it.”
Also, I realized I needed a printer. I had gotten rid of my previous printers due to toner issues and knew I would need one someday, but was in no hurry to get another one. I became aware that I would want to print out an Advance Directive eventually, not to mention resumes for job hunting. I told Barry that I was a little overwhelmed with going out and buying a printer. His solution? “Then don’t buy one.” Problem solved, but only in his mind. For someone that spends all his time watching TV, this is a perfectly appropriate resolution.
I’ve been trying to figure out what “living in the present” means when saddled with all the responsibilities. This helps a little. Thanks to a Vietnamese monk.