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And Now What? Living Life Here and Now
I watched a wonderful docufilm called Planetary last night and was blown away by the sheer beauty of our Earth and how interconnected we all are. The scenes of canyons, oceans, glaciers, forests—oh, I could go on and on—were astoundingly beautiful, each showing how the Earth is teeming with life of which we are a small fraction.
Halfway through the documentary, the economy was brought up. In comparison to the big scale stuff being spoken about (billions of other earths in our universe, the Milky Way, the rapid destruction of the environment) I was jolted as I viewed the skyscrapers of Manhattan and factories in the Far East. Suddenly I was reminded of a story in which a simple fisherman asked a businessman: “And then what?”
We all have a finite amount of time to spend on this Earth. The majority prioritizes the overwhelming rush to accrue as much as possible, at the expense of who we really are. Our living standards are the highest in human civilization, and yet we feel more separated from ourselves than ever. As we work, gain, work, gain, work, gain, is it possible to pause and ask, “And now what?”
This is what I’m asking myself, and it’s leading me to say no to certain jobs, as I’d rather have time with loved ones and reflect. I just want to pause, to slow down, but there’s still an element of self-reproach creeping in at this perceived indulgence. I really believe that enforced busyness is hoodwinking us and separating us from our true divine selves so that we forget that we’re all beings of love, compassion, and appreciation.
It takes just five minutes to pause, feel the breath, and reunite with ourselves and all that is.
The Fisherman and the Businessman
“Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.” ~ Bertolt Brecht
One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.
About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”
The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”
“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The businessman replied, “You will make money, and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.
The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.
“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.
The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”
Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”
The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”
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Reprinted with permission from Charlene McAuley and this-yoga.com.
Charlene McAuley - My yoga exploration spans 13 years, teaching for almost seven of those years with varied students including World Cup footballers and wise 80-year olds. I have an insatiable fascination with movement and psyche, recognizing many years ago through my yoga practice that movement can determine one’s mindset and mindset can determine one’s movement. I work primarily with the ‘here and now’, wanting to explore what is occurring in the present moment so that I can encourage myself and students to live with more awareness.