It's only fair to share…

Regular readers may recall that I have previously written about the TV program SAS Australia and the fascination in seeing what people may be capable of. The program must be doing well as there is currently a third season and it being run at the start rather than end of the year.

Necessarily it is made for TV and so editing is done to show the parts which make the best TV. However, the tasks are a major challenge and how different people approach it is what interests me. What are we capable of? What is that that we think we are not capable of that we can do but our beliefs prevent us from trying? What do we expect of ourselves?

The contrast comes from two contestants, one a model and the other a boxer – both female. One would think that boxing training would be a better base than a runway. Yet the boxer has struggled with assigned tasks and become quite tearful when not succeeding. The model has performed tasks from the start point of being terrified but without expectation.

One expects to perform at a high level and is frustrated when does not but does not really listen to the instructions. The other has no particular expectation but follows instructions and thus completes the tasks.

I have been listening to some talks by Eckhart Tolle about being in the present moment. He contends that there is nothing but the present moment and that the past and future only exist in our minds. This teaching is not new and goes back to that of The Buddha and maybe before that.

Essentially the difference between the two SAS contestants is that one is in the present moment listening to instructions and not having a pre-conceived notion. That she is afraid and has to overcome that emotion in the moment is the challenge. The other is “in her head” rather than the moment and hence not focussed on instructions and following them.

This is not to say that we should not have aspirations or that we should ignore lessons of the past. It is to say that Tolle, of course, is right and that we only have the present moment, and that life is a series of “now” moments. If we are not living in the now, what are we doing?

The present moment may not always be where we want to be. The brave people of Ukraine are a testament to that. However, it is inspiring to see people prepared to literally take up arms to defend their country and freedom. President Zelensky when offered passage out said, “I do not want a ride, I want ammunition”.

The situation in the Ukraine is literally one of life and death. Many of us worry about matters which are a very long way from that. Does that make our day to day concerns irrelevant? No. It does mean that many in the western world have lost perspective about what is actually important and what is of no genuine consequence.

The question arises – what would each of us do if we were in the Ukraine? Would we run away? Would we hide? Would we take up arms or resist in some other way?  This will be a function of our abilities and attitude.  Hopefully we are never placed in that situation, but it is interesting to ask the question.

Ultimately, we cannot know how we may react unless we are actually confronting a threat. There are those who will find strength they did not know they had. Others will metaphorically implode. There is no right or wrong. We are all unique individuals.

Perhaps the unfolding war in Ukraine will put other issues into perspective. Perhaps we may ponder what really matters in life. It is certainly sage advice to, as much as we can, live in the present moment. It is the only one we have.