Being HereMay 2, 2008
Being here instead of there is where it’s at
When I was in my first year of college I had an experience that I was ashamed of. It went like this. My college was located in the south in the middle of a medium size town. There was always trouble brewing between the kids from town and college students. One evening, I and two of my friends were going for a bite to eat when we heard screams and yells coming from the other side of the street. It appeared to be some kids from town beating up some college students, however we could not be sure due to the distance between them and us. Immediately one of my friends took off to the other side of the street. Then we heard more yells. Meanwhile I and my other friend were not sure what to do. I procrastinated for about 1 minute before the screams got to me. Then I ran across the street to help my friend.
As I approached the area of the attack the attackers turned and ran away. My friend was lying on the ground, blood pouring out of two cuts on his head. Nearby was a stick with which he had been hit. By this time my other friend came to join us. We were now alone with our injured friend. Everyone involved in the fight had run away. We helped him up and walked him to the campus medical facility. He required about 15-20 stitches to close the two wounds. The doctor who sewed him up told us that it was a close call, however he would fully recover. On the way back to his dormitory he turned and asked me “What took you so long?” I replied that I was not sure who was attacking whom. He then let the matter drop. After that incident he steered clear of me for the rest of the semester. I never saw him again, as I transferred to engineering school the next semester.
Over the next few years I often thought of that night. I had been in fights before and had never procrastinated when my friends were in trouble. What transpired this time to make me freeze up? The answer came to me in time. During that minute my mind ran through all of the possible fantasies that could befall me when I crossed the street. I let myself dwell into the future, as I stood there frozen in time.
One of the prime principles of the internal arts of yoga, tai chi and meditation is the idea of mindfulness or that process of living in the present moment. Here we are totally in the present moment not thinking of the many possibilities that the future could bring and not thinking of reliving the memories of the past. We just are. At that moment we feel totally connected. Our minds calm, our bodies relaxed into a state of total awareness in the moment. In this state, we intrinsically know what to do in all situations.