Eckhart Tolle told us, “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” I had always taken this as a direction for mindfulness and enthusiasm, a call to see the world as it is rather than as I remember it, imagine it, or wish it might be.
This past weekend, my body succumbed to some communicable illness being passed around my family. In bodily discomfort, I stumbled into this saying in a different way. We were camping, the night was gusty, and the other campers weren’t being very peaceful in the darkness. As my sinuses clogged and I struggled to relax, it suddenly occurred to me that I was unhappily accepting the moment. I was enduring, no more.
How to accept the present moment as if we had chosen it? There is no route to such acceptance other than choosing this moment. And so, with an aching head and scratchy throat, I chose the bodily discomfort. I chose the noisy neighbors and the wildly flapping tent. With that choice, everything became tolerable – even enjoyable. Peace entered my heart.
Passive acceptance is serving time, but active acceptance is fluid happiness.
And since then, as my body arises back to health, I have continued choosing this moment. Not merely being aware of it – beyond mindfulness, I have been actively choosing what has arisen over all other circumstances. I am not accepting an imposed situation. I am choosing it out of belief that the Beloved has, in His perfect wisdom, given me the best possible lesson.
Sometimes choosing this moment is very difficult. Sometimes, I have altered the moment by giving rise to the cyclic internal chanting of my preferred mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum.” Mantras are healing, and during my body’s highest level of discomfort, my mantra has brought me wholeness. But, by and large, we must choose this moment as it is in order to embrace the miracle. Perhaps this is why Eckhart Tolle phrased it the way he did.
Still, rather than “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it,” let us say “Whatever the present moment contains, choose it.” Let us, insofar as we can, prefer the current moment to all other moments. Such a choice refuses all mutterings of ego. Why act “as if” – why sit and wait at the door of heaven? When we really choose this moment, we knock on that portal of truth and Love… and it is opened.