Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - The Power of Now

ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (4/21/13) - There is a Zen parable about a man who surprised a sleeping tiger while walking through the jungle. The ferocious animal pursued the man, causing him to throw down his bag and walking stick, as he ran for his life.

With the tiger tightly on his heels, the man came to a steep cliff. He saw a vine dangling over the edge, quickly grabbed it, and began shimmying down the vine just narrowly escaping the teeth of the tiger who now leered hungrily at him from the rim above.

This put the traveler in a real predicament. He was high in the air with no place to go. The vicious tiger was overhead; jagged rocks were below; and he was clinging to a vine that was not nearly long enough to lower him to the ground. Then, as if things could not be direr, a mouse emerged from its den and began to nibble at the vine.

At this precise moment the traveler saw a perfect, plump strawberry right there within arm’s reach, growing out of the face of the cliff. He picked it, ate it, and exclaimed, “Wow!!! That is the best strawberry I’ve ever tasted in my entire life!”

The story ends there (leaving the man hanging in a lurch), but the lesson keeps going: If the man had been preoccupied with the rocks below (his possible future), or the tiger above (his past troubles), or the mouse chewing away at the vine (his vanishing present), he would have missed the strawberry within the present moment. He would have missed the joy of now.

Now: There are few words with more potency but hardly a word more fallow or underutilized, because most of us do not live “in the now.” We don’t even aspire to live in the broader category of “today,” having trading the present for a regretful past or a fearful future, a trade that leaves no life left to live.

Those of us who have fixed our eyes on the rearview mirror feel the days gone by slashing angrily at our heels with the unanswerable questions of regret. Where did my life go off the rails? How could I have made such terrible mistakes? What could I have done differently? Why hasn’t God (or my parents or my spouse or my employer) treated me fairly or at least as well as others?

Such questions only end with inadequate replies, proving the axiom true: “There is no future in the past.” But there is no future in the future either; not a view of the future that is tainted with fear! Yet, countless people live their lives in a hypothetical time machine, always worrying and fretting over a distant yet to come that might never materialize.

These future-fearing people fill the air with their own questions, questions that usually begins with the words, “What if?” What if I lose my job? What if I am diagnosed with cancer? What if I run out of money? What if the economy collapses? Again, such questions can’t be answered. They can only rob the worriers of the time they have today.

And of course there are those who are preoccupied with the future differently. They aren’t worried. They are enthused. They have schemes and plans for tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. They say things like: “I’ll do it one day (whatever ‘it’ is). Life will be better next week…next month…next year…next decade. Eventually I’ll get around to it. In the end I will achieve my goals.” But in the end, the end comes far too soon, and all the best-laid plans never materialize.

If we are engrossed with the snarling monsters of our past, obsessed with the fearful uncertainties of tomorrow, or spend our precious few days prepping for an ethereal future, this much is certain: We give away today; we miss the now.

Right now might not be your greatest moment, but now is all you have. Give now all you have, and you might be surprised at the joy you will discover.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

HCHS Students Selected for State Music Ensembles

HENDERSON, Ky. (12/22/14) — A number of Henderson County High School musicians successfully auditioned for the top… Read More

Traffic Stop Ends in Meth Arrest

HENDERSON, Ky. (12/22/14) — A Union County man was charged for possession of methamphetamine for the second time after… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 11062

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 17, 2014 7969

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 17, 2014 6906

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 19, 2014 4928

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 19, 2014 4675

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 18, 2014 4277

Cat Scratching over Dog Ownership Escalates

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
December 16, 2014 4236

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 19, 2014 4224

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 16, 2014 3988

KFWC Proposes 2015-2016 Deer Season Dates and…

in General News For All Sites by Department of Fish and Wildlife
December 19, 2014 3585

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis

Stories Trending Today

December 20, 2014 2023

KET’s Kentucky Life Segment to Feature Old…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 1621

UK Family Doctor Gives Back, Stays Grounded…

in General News For All Sites by Allison Perry and Elizabeth Adams
December 21, 2014 1438

Final 'Frozen' Performance Set for Tonight at LWC

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 22, 2014 1434

Earlington Church Toy Drive Blesses Community…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
December 21, 2014 1420

AG Conway Announces 2014 Keep Kentucky Kids Safe…

in General News For All Sites by Daniel Kemp
December 21, 2014 1254

Edumedics LLC to Expand Louisville Headquarters,…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
December 21, 2014 1222

Follow Safe Sleep Recommendations for Infants

in General News For All Sites by Beth Fisher
December 21, 2014 1202

NCM Motorsports Park to Break Ground on Kimberlee…

in General News For All Sites by National Corvette Museum
December 21, 2014 1067

Legislator's Log - Week of Dec. 21, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Brent Yonts
December 21, 2014 1050

Dave Says - Dec. 21, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Dave Ramsey

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss