Live Like You Mean It Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!

By Derek Maul

Time is a collection of moments, and it is in the moments that we actually live.

Thursday afternoon I found myself at an intersection, waiting six to eight minutes for the light to change (maybe a slight exaggeration). I looked up and noticed the pack of cars opposite, waiting to move. I wondered about the people driving, and where they were so anxious to be.

It seems to me we spend a lot of time going, and very little time actually being. Both traveling and arriving are worthwhile, but for now it’s the journey that keeps me interested.

I wonder if we get so caught up in arriving that we forget to enjoy the process; that the journey necessarily involves being rather than going. Like the light at Durant and Capital for nine to eleven minutes (I could be exaggerating).

I read a great thought by author Paul Knitter, and the essence goes like this: “The western mindset says, ‘don’t just sit there, do something!’ But the Buddhist would say, ‘don’t just do something, sit there!’”

We can be so consumed by frenetic doing that we miss the beauty of the journey. And sometimes the best parts of the journey involve just sitting there – even if it’s at the intersection of Durant and Capital for the best part of twelve to fifteen minutes (I may well be exaggerating).

Later I did “just sit there,” for a good hour and a half over lunch with my friend Grady. And that’s unusual because even relationships can become leveraged into our irrational compulsion to be at the next thing right now.

It may be true that in aging time seems to visibly accelerate, but if we are wise we also learn that time is a collection of moments, and it is in the moments that we actually live. Even if it’s stuck at the light at the intersection of Durant and Capital for a good fifteen to twenty minutes (I may be exaggerating just a little).

Peace. And deep breaths. And more moments – DEREK


Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com