I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately since it’s something I manage every day in its varying forms. Many of these random thoughts may be highly ridiculous; for example, although I dearly love scallops, ever since I read about some people developing an anaphylactic reaction to them later in life the pure joy in eating these plump, succulent pillows of the sea has now been tempered a bit – I even hesitate to order them sometimes. (More often though I still do and eat the first few quickly – just in case – and then settle down to really enjoy). Other recurring fears revolve around my children, relationships past and present, money, plumbing, my own profile and oh yes that small nagging one about death (including all the spiritual and dietary considerations that I may or may not be dropping the ball on).
Realizing more and more that life is so desperately random is the most frightening thought of all – I can’t be one of those people who shrug and say (perhaps as they are lighting up a cigarette) “Nothing I can do about it. So why worry?” I have no snappy reply to this except to note that on a personal level I do have much more than a passing interest in my own life and I’d quite like to exert what little control I have.
The Buddhists suggest that being in the moment is one of the keys to happiness. This way of thinking (re-interpreted as ‘stress management’) has become almost a parody of itself thanks in part to “Corporate Buddhism” which has introduced the West to words like “mindfulness” and “loving kindness.” But I remain impressed. Peel back the veneer and consider the bare message without need for gratitude journals or expensive prayer shawls: Have the tea now and truly enjoy it. The present is basically all we have. Deal with it.
(As I write this, it occurs to me that perhaps this is why tea is enjoying such a revival in popularity. Many people are choosing select teas with mystical or purifying properties. Really hoping right now that doesn’t count as multi-tasking, hmmmmm …)