A morning meditative thought: Every second that ticks by is another second of your life which you will never have again. I kick myself everytime I catch myself thinking, 'I can't wait until I'm not at work but at home' or 'I just want this unpleasant activity to be over so that I can do something else.' By wishing ourselves into the future and away from the present, we are hurling ourselves towards death and ignoring the gift of our own life. Appreciate every moment of your precious life. Make the most of it, even those moments we don't 'want.'
For Vesak, I journeyed on a 20-mile river hike in the North Georgia mountains. The moon was full but being far down in the mountain valley I never caught a glimpse. Instead, there were snails and snakes, night creatures and bears not far afoot. I took along with me Andy Karr's book Contemplating Reality, studying the teachings in the late afternoon after camp had been set up, and meditating in the evening and morning hours.
Perhaps it was the deep contemplation spurred on by my reading material, perhaps it was the full moon, or being far away from the ordinary, tangled life in the city, but the 'reality' I was accustomed to began to slip away out there on the trail. The sound of the river water at night, with my eyes closed listening to the sound itself so intentely, water became wind. Wind became whispers. The forest awoke with an aliveness of spirits that I could neither see nor name, but only sense and feel all around me. I was visited by the spirit of a fox one early morning hour before the sun had risen, and felt as much protected by it as I felt mystified by its elusive presence and confused by my own simple lack of understanding in the mystery of the universe.