Seize the Moment
The popular song, some time ago “Don’t worry, be happy” by Bobby McFerrin, capture the essence of how people should seize the moment (i.e. apply the power of NOW!) At first when listening to the song, it may seem quite childish to follow the “song’s advice” …is regarded as downright stupid… because in our modern society there is plenty to be worried about and these pressures will not evaporate and suddenly disappear when we adopt an attitude of… don’t worry, be happy!.
When we only listen to the words of the song, without taking into account the underlying spirit of the song. It is quite obvious that the words can only have meaning for hedonists and those people that are either driven by childish irresponsibility to enjoy life regardless of responsibilities or people under the influence of some kind of chemical substance (i.e. being high). When we are mature and responsible adults, a pillar (i.e. a Rock of Gibraltar) for our family and society, then this “advice” implies an ignorance of the harsh reality and the highly competitive society we are functioning in today. However, once we relate to the underlying spirit of the song and the implications that this advice has for everyday living, then these words, “Don’t worry, be happy”, attain a different meaning and a completely new view on life. Differently stated… “If you worry you die if you don’t worry you also die… so why worry?“ and ”What must be, must be!”
When interpreted by most “responsible and mature” adults, under the strict auspices and conditioning of our present social structures (i.e. matrix expectations), the mere notion of “don’t worry, be happy” is immature, shallow, superficial, downright irresponsible and even dangerous. However - on the contrary - I beg to differ and think that it reflects a higher level of maturity (emotional maturity or EQ), contentment and bliss than most people are unable to experience in modern-day times. An Utopian vision?… it maybe so, but let me try and explain why I firmly believe that a view on life supported by a 'don’t-worry-be-happy'-attitude is a much more human-friendly, productive and mature or responsible way of approaching and dealing with the current up's and down's of life and the many challenges & changes that we are confronted with each day of our lives.
I was listening to an 11-year-old client singing her unique version of Bobby McFerrin’s song. She sang about all kinds of troubles and problems that she often encounters in her life and then ends each acknowledged “difficulty” with a high-spirited summarizing chuckle DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY! Her interpretation of the song and how she perceives the adversities of life, sets me wondering and reflecting… Didn’t she already master a lesson about Seize the Moment, bliss, contentment and the ecstasy of being alive… NOW?
As adults, we can all learn a weird …but wonderful… lesson from the children that surrounds us each day. As “responsible adults” we are overly consumed by worries and unable to even “see” the countless miraculous moments of Seize the Moment that we encounter every day, and to unconditionally enjoy what life has to offer us concealed in LIVING each day to the fullest.
Without the ability to be happy without reservations, we are defenceless against the short-lived cult of seeking joy at all costs. We start to chase one joyous moment after another in life; if it is a priceless and precious trophy. We stumble through life… from one achievement to another… from one relationship to another… from one spiritual sensation to another… from one job to another… from one form of security to another… from one status symbol to another, …etc. We form these addictions because we confidently believe that Seize the Moment lies somewhere in either the near or distant future… providing that we can patiently endure the discomforts of the present with as little pain as possible.
Modern and civilized man, especially since marketing - from religious dogmas to shoes, and everything else in between - has taken the place of common sense, has adopted a culture best described in a short story by Claudio Magris as… “Being human hurts, it doesn’t let up ever. Do this, do that, work, struggle, win, fall in love, be happy, YOU MUST BE HAPPY, living is this duty to be happy, if you aren’t it’s a disgrace. So, you do all you possibly can to obey, to be good and clever and HAPPY”.
The widely accepted cult of seeking joy at all costs is the result of people that constantly live in a state of “permanent short-lived existence” with new things of “Seize the Moment” popping up each day, in the many different forms of religion, hairspray, cars, sex appeal, all kinds of commodities, status symbols, positions in society, qualifications, …etc. Providing we have, could borrow, beg or steal enough money to buy these “valuable opportunities” of illusionary and short-lived moments of Seize the Moment and ecstasy in life.
Unfortunately, TRUE, REAL and LASTING Seize the Moment, joy or contentment (bliss) cannot be bought, nor is it contained in possessions, opportunities, financial security, a job or a particular position in life. This frantic jumping from one “joyous” moment to another, creates an intelligent organism that is driven by stupidity, effectively creating a life lived in quicksand, where the slightest mistake let us sink into limbo and misery and the more we struggle the deeper we sink. This cult of seeking joy isn’t a modern and contemporary phenomenon; it was and still is part and parcel of being human. Ever since the beginning of known time, we as mortal humans were unable to overcome this trivial Seize the Moment and moment-for-moment joyous existence of “I will be really happy when…”.
As humans, we desperately cling to short-lived moments of provisional joy that could soothe the pain of life and what the majority of people fail to realize is… life only obtains REAL, TRUE and LASTING meaning through a synchronicity and equilibrium of success, Seize the Moment, problems and crises. In other words: A truly happy life isn’t possible without the existence of the dark compunction of uncertainty and helplessness; and the word Seize the Moment (bliss) would become meaningless outside the experience spheres of our own and other people’s sorrow, disappointments and frustrations. Nothing new and exciting can be created or established without - to some extent - destroying the old first because to achieve a higher level of bliss, the “old form of Seize the Moment” must first be “destroyed” by sorrow, loss or disappointment and when we cling to “old” Seize the Moment for dear life; it efficiently prevents us from achieving a higher level of bliss or “new” level of Seize the Moment.
External things and opportunities can make us happy, BUT it is a hollow and short-lived experience when it isn’t supported by inner tranquillity and equilibrium. Such an inner equilibrium lies in the realization that the most common and everyday circumstances and tasks contain the potential of being an unbelievable miracle on their own and that most of us have what we NEED. If we are more patient, respectful, tolerant and willing to linger a little longer, then we would “see” or become aware of the miracle of life in the simplest of things all around us.
We will start to notice (i.e. seek and you shall find) the joy and Seize the Moment of life as hidden away in a garden full of flowers, a dusty old “plakkerskamp”, the sparkle in the eye of a pregnant woman, in the laugh of a child, in the song of an 11-year-old, in an evening breeze, a sunset, in the humming of someone at work, watering a plant, the texture of grass, the flight of a butterfly, the song of a bird, a poem, a candle that we light, a smile, laughter, the relief of a Tsunami survivor, a helping hand in need, …etc.
When we can seize and enjoy every moment of being alive, it is a truly amazing experience and then it doesn’t matter whether such an experience is either good (Seize the Moment) or bad (unhappy), it all makes life worth living and we truly feel alive. However, to achieve such a state of mind where we can enjoy being alive - even in the face of great sorrow and danger - doesn’t imply a fatalistic tendency, BUT an unwavering faith in our CREATOR, OURSELVES and our fellow man.
To keep FAITH and the ability to seize the moment (don’t worry, be happy) can be extremely difficult and may even seem impossible at times. However, when our philosophy of and attitude towards life is sourcing from an inner equilibrium (balanced self-empowerment, psyche management, self-worth and energies) as based on a realization that our POINT OF POWER always is in the present… the HERE and NOW; then we are able to create and sustain a level of bliss that is inclusive, long-lasting, suitable and unavailable.
We should eagerly start to build and create a better tomorrow by being aware of our present thoughts and ensuring that our thought patterns (energies) are in equilibrium with our present circumstances and whether our thoughts and beliefs…
- allow us to live in a dream world (anticipation) of what might, could or should be.
- capture our existence within the confining boundaries of reality… that what is (i.e. only allowable possibility under given circumstance).
The fact that we should develop and sustain a philosophy of life that is fueled by a tendency to seize the moment as best we could, could provide us with thought patterns (i.e. a mindset) allowing us to DREAM, deals with reality and establish the elegance to transform dreams into reality. However, changing dreams into reality (applying the power of now and to seize the moment) requires lots of patience, plenty of determination and a whole lot of guts, because we are conditioned and are continuously brainwashed that…
- postpone (procrastinate) to deal with issues - until a crisis develops - and leave the final decision to someone else or wait to choose when the time is “right” or more “suitable”.
- use fast-tracking (speeding things up by following ready-made recipes) to get ahead as quickly as possible in life.
- be “passive” and frantically collect the “ultimate” level of information, speak to or obtain advice from “millions” of experts before taking any decision.
…and we shouldn't…
- constantly and SMARTly , evaluate and immediately correct (applying the power of now) if and when we are required to do so.
- clarify things, matters and concepts. Thus, continuously ask questions to ourselves and others, especially the so-called “stupid” ones. “Simple” questions are quite often the most important ones and PLEASE do NOT assume that you understand, because assumptions could easily put you on the wrong track of thought when uncertainties are not clarified and dealt with.
- write down or type your thoughts, especially the more confusing ones for clarification purposes and to maintain focus on certain issues. Normally, we create lists for everything in life (i.e. ToDo Lists), except for those things that confuse us in life.. e.g. why does that person unsettle me?; I regard myself as open, and everybody else treats me as rigid, why?; when a person is late for an appointment, why do I lose my temper?; why do I believe that money would solve most crises in life?; …etc.
- consult others (e.g. “specialists”) to obtain more data, additional perspectives and a diversity of opinions and views.
- develop an inner world measurement (assessment) strategy, because we need some gauge to indicate when we should take action (proactively) to prevent a current knotty situation from budding into a full-blown crisis, forcing us into reaction and fire-fighting behaviors. For example: When we drive, we Seize the Moment the fuel gauge to determine when it is time to fill up, which prevents us from being stranded unexpectedly; the heat gauge to see when overheating signals become dangerous and to determine (decide) what to do next to prevent a calamity.
- prioritize what we regard as important in life (i.e. needs versus wants), determine guiding parameters that can direct thought patterns, choices and ultimately actions. A well-formulated and sustainable PERSONAL philosophy of life (or Seize the Moment) - founded on personal minimum standards - would prevent us from spending energy on a number of “insignificant” decisions to please others and that saps our strength. Thus first decide on a goal in life (CPD and refined it as PLP) before you concern yourself with the where and what of preparation (e.g. what to study)… when you choose to stay in Pretoria, you shouldn't concern yourself with property prices in Durban.
It should be quite obvious at this stage that DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY (i.e. seize the moment) isn’t a fatalistic attitude BUT an emotionally mature mindset, based on the power of NOW and unwavering faith, a faith-based on a firm belief that our CREATOR will provide what we need when we need it (as promised, time and time again!). Therefore, DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY implies and translates as… dealing mainly with the current reality, the facts and the truths of the here and NOW. Don't let the past destroy the enjoyment of the present! Nor worries about the future! and… live in gratitude for what you have and still receive every day.
Seize the moment or get seized-up in the moment!
Seize the Moment to make the most of the Power of Now!