One of the people I’m really interested in learning more from is Pema Chodron. She is an American born Tibetan Buddhist and teacher to one of my closest friends. I have not met Pema in person. I know however, a comfort and a sanity through her words that I hear from a CD collection and from her writings.
One of those bits of sanity for me are these words, “This very moment is the perfect teacher.” This is her opening line from the CD that I’ve been listening to several times over the last week. It has weight. In the last several months, it has become a very important reminder to me. This very moment of frustration. This very moment of fear. This very moment of embarrassment. I’m learning more about this very moment of joy, exhilaration, and laughter also, but those don’t grab my attention in the same way. Perhaps they will in the future, or in one of the upcoming very moments.
Pema is reminding me of something that I learned through my grandmothers. “There is always something to learn.” One of my grandmothers taught me to think this. Another of my grandmothers taught me to feel this. They taught me that there is always a plethora of material. The obvious ones like my early days of university classes in Edmonton, Alberta. Or in the loss of a community league hockey game that I played. They helped also with the more challenging ones. The loss of a girlfriend. The loss of innocence. The death of my father.
There is always something to learn. My grandmothers’ invocations helped me make sense of things, as I was want to do. Just as it is now with Pema’s reminder, this very moment is the perfect teacher. Those words help me to pause just enough, to interrupt runaway thoughts and give my attention to what’s in front of me, and to remember that if nothing else, there is opportunity to make just a bit more sense of this interesting journey that is life, starting with the simple moment in front of me.