Recently, our eldest son turned nine. His birthday always pulls at my heartstrings because we almost lost him during his birth. He is a daily reminder of the preciousness of life. And the fact that he is now nine years old simultaneously blows my mind and has me thinking about this thing we call ‘time’. On the surface, time is whizzing by at a rate that is almost beyond comprehension. It is already May (how!), the children are growing up so fast, I am officially ‘mid-life’. But there is another dimension of time and space that I have come to know and savour, one that feels boundless, timeless even. It is the present moment. It’s the moment found in the tiny gap between each thought, in the space of no thinking. I’ve observed that when there is no thought, the concept of time seems to evaporate into the ether. And the strange paradox of time is that by living in the present moment, all the stresses and struggles of this thing called time also seem to evaporate.
So, can we live in moments, not time?
Someone dear to us who we lost to cancer offered this exact notion to me many years ago when he was dying. He said, ‘I no longer live in time. I live in moments.’ It has taken me a long time to comprehend what he meant. But, after all these years of finding the stillness within later, I can humbly appreciate his depth and wisdom.
To truly live in a moment is to be with whoever or whatever is in front of me with immense humility. Why? Because everything that appears in time is subject to loss – May will become June; my son will never be eight again – everything that seems permanent is actually impermanent.
I’m aware it may be a tad depressing to think about losing everything you love, but here is another strange and wonderful paradox: to really know this in your bones is the key to inexplicable joy. The fragility of life, knowing that everything is subject to loss, renders each moment sacred. The people in our lives right now, in a way, become holy. Life becomes deeply precious. My son taught me that, as did our loved one who passed. And every day, my son’s essence – his spark, spontaneity, humour, sense of adventure and unfiltered emotions–make me realise that this one precious life is for jumping into the air mid-swing, it is for living.
Lara Charles is an Australian writer and mama living in Aotearoa, New Zealand, with her husband and four children. Lara writes at the intersection of spirituality and modern life. Her work has been featured on New Zealand’s most prominent media platform, Stuff, as well as spiritual platforms such as Tiny Buddha and Elephant Journal.
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