I remember this speech. I don't remember if I watched it on TV, or heard clips of it in the news, or read about it in the papers and magazines. At that time I was seventeen years old and had just graduated from high school. My path took me to Hollywood, California, where I was to begin one of the most life-altering years of my existence here on this planet, and let me just say now that I am very grateful that my path led me to there and not into Operation Desert Shield or Operation Desert Storm.
I recommend you queue the video to 6 minutes, 33 seconds. Then, at around 7 minutes... listen very closely.
As we stand on the edge of yet another war I find it important to reflect on the smallest moments.
Life consists of moment after moment, and in particular moments we perceive our experiences in a negative light. Universally, the human condition involves suffering, pain, loss, fear, and galaxies of other difficult and challenging situations. When we are in the moment and we are still moving amongst these challenging pieces to our lives, or we are reliving them from a vantage point in the future, we may find it difficult to salvage anything positive about our experiences. We might become cynical, jaded, or just numb with inability to see the light from the dark.
What I know now, however, is that all is fleeting. All is momentary. All is ephemeral and temporary. For, the moment we acknowledge the perception of our experience the experience has passed.
'And this too shall come to pass'.
And it is for this reason -- because all is fleeting -- and because we always have a choice -- that we can choose to see any experience in a positive light. For it is ALL our experience -- it is ALL of the moments -- that makes us who and what we are. It is ALL our experience that makes up the human condition.
I can't say with any certainty that I know why things happened the way they happened other than to say that things happened the way they did so that right now things would be the way they are.
Appearances can be deceptive. The way things are right now might seem to be different than what we want or desire them to be. They may seem to be unexpected and surprising. They may seem to be falling into place just right. They may seem discordant and chaotic. Things are not always as they seem.
It's an oft-quoted, simple thought. You might accuse me of stating the obvious.
Then again, sometimes we need to be reminded of oft-quoted, simple thoughts.
So, here it is again:
Things are not always as they seem.