Question: I have read that one must live in the moment (活在当下), that one should tackle problems when they occur (instead of worrying and doing all sort of things now just in case the problems occur later). I am a bit confused as to whether it means that one should not take preventive measures at all, case problems do occur later on.
Answer: ‘Living in the moment’ is often misinterpreted as not planning for the future (e.g. making preventive measures against later problems) at all. Healthy planning should be done; in contrast to obsessive worrying which doesn’t help. Many worries turn out unnecessary on hindsight. So, how do we live in the now while planning for the future at the same time? The answer is simple. Plan for the future mindfully in the now. Mindfulness is always in the now and proper planning requires mindfulness. But as above, this should not be done in unreasonable excess, such that one forgets to take care of immediate issues as one gets lost in an imagined future that might never come in the way expected. After one had planned well, one should dissolve any worries and return to everyday life matters.
Question: On ‘the mind not abiding anywhere’ (心无所住) and not being attached to results, does it mean that one just needs to always put in their best efforts in the things done and need not set short-term goals or targets (as just having an ultimate objective is sufficient)?
Answer: The truth is, short and long term goals can’t really be separated, as long term goals are usually achieved as a result of achieving many short term goals. As long as one has done one’s best for a short or long term goal, it is alright. If one can do better, just do better. Not being attached to results does not mean apathy; it means to do one’s best and let karma decide the results. Even so, as karma is dynamic, if the results are unsatisfactory and there are conditions to improve them, just do so.
Question: For example, if one has plans to look for 10 suitable staff to train them for a project (which will be implemented one or two years later), does it mean one should not set goals such as finding these staff within 6 months, to train them within the next 6 months, etc.?
Answer: If there is a deadline, it is good to estimate the realistic time needed to find the right number of candidates, and to set some sub-deadlines, to motivate yourself to search diligently, and not just let things be. (That would be not doing your job properly.) But as we shouldn’t be too attached to expectations due to constant change, there’s no need to cling too tightly to our worldly plans. When we cling too much, we suffer.
Question: Can one not set any short term goals or timeline…. but do one’s best whenever one spots any suitable person and try one’s best to get the person to join the team, and do one’s best to train the person?
Answer: As above, the sub-deadlines should be a rough guide only, as the main goal is to find the right people in time. Who knows? The right people might come in the nick of time, or are never found, or found one at a time as planned!
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