It is easy to forget that each moment of our life is truly precious. They say you can never step in the same river twice: it is not the same river and you are not the same person. Like snow melting under the rain, the moments of our lives are fleeting. Each moment is an opportunity to appreciate what we have and find joy in the here and now. Even difficult moments are an opportunity to practice; they too will pass.
I recently learned the Japanese phrase “ichigo ichie” which can be translated as “in this moment, an opportunity” or “one time, one meeting.” Ichigo ichie is all about finding joy in the small, everyday moments of our lives. It’s a reminder that life is fleeting and each moment is unique and can never be repeated. When I learned about this idea, I was immediately reminded of my years of Buddhist training and the idea that every moment and everything that happens to us is an opportunity to practice.
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”Epictetus
We cannot truly control the what happens to us. In life there are challenges, setbacks and there are victories and celebrations. We do our best to prepare, we put forth our effort but ultimately we can’t control the outcome of our endeavors. We may plan for things to go one way and suddenly everything changes: something breaks, we get sick, someone dies unexpectedly. Life happens and so the question becomes: when life happens, how will you react to it?
It’s a very common sentiment found in meditation groups and yoga studios everywhere: “each moment is a precious opportunity to practice.” In each and every moment you can practice finding the joy in the situation, letting go of the situation or bringing compassion to the situation for yourself and others. You can practice bringing your best self to the moment, instead of getting sucked in to fear and anger. Bringing your “best self” to the situation will change day to day and moment to moment. Sometimes your best self is tired or hurt and even finding a smile in spite of the pain is the best you can muster. I find that just reminding myself that even in the toughest moments, there is an opportunity to practice helps me find the strength I need to keep going.
“A positive mind finds opportunity in everything”
Having a positive mind helps us remember that each moment is an opportunity to practice. Positivity helps us bring an optimistic perspective to our situation and helps us see the possibilities in each moment rather than the roadblocks in our way. Cultivating a positive mental attitude isn’t always easy, it can take time and practice. I like to think of this as a virtuous cycle: each moment is an opportunity to practice cultivating positivity and having a positive mind helps me see the possibility in each moment. Good supporting good. By cultivating that positive mindset, you’re able to build resilience and remain optimistic even in the face of difficulty.
As I wrap up this post, I’d like to return to the concept of ichigo ichie. Ichigo ichie is all about the simple moments of joy that are available in our lives every day – if we pause for a moment to notice them. It’s the joy of a warm cup of tea in the morning, conversation with a fascinating stranger or a heart to heart with our best friend; those simple, fleeting moments of joy in our lives that will never come again. Learning to pause and appreciate those little moments helps you cultivate more positivity in your day-to-day life. Similar to practicing gratitude daily, learning to look for those moments of joy helps us stay in a more positive, optimistic mental state.
May you remember that each moment is a precious opportunity to practice and cultivate positivity.
Until next time… keep shining! You never know who is following your light.