The Time to Self-Actualize is Now
“You have an appointment with life, and that appointment is in the present moment. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
The Western mentality is very much a future focused mentality. We plan. We obsess over distant milestones like graduating from the right college, marrying the right person, finding the right job, moving up the right ranks, moving into the right house.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with planning for the future except that in the process many of us come to devalue the present moment, with all its wonder and possibilities. We almost come to take our current state of affairs as an afterthought, as something that must simply be borne as best as possible until that bright, shiny future finally arrives.
Recommitting to the Present
Our challenge as Westerners is to recommit to the present, to realize that all of the necessary conditions for our happiness and fulfillment are already available, and to decide that the time to self-actualize is now. The things that really matter, like cultivating more loving relationships with the people we care about, being more gentle with ourselves and others, becoming determined to reduce suffering in the world rather than add to it, practicing compassion and forgiveness, and isolating and unfolding our unique potentialities, are on a holding pattern of our own making. We don’t need to wait for some distant date where the stars will supposedly finally align to start this important work, to start the work that turns us into the people we were always meant to be. We can start right away. We become through doing, and doing occurs not in the present or the future but in the now.