Day one: Assignment:
You meet a man in a bar in a strange town. He has a cat on his lap, and he orders a cup of coffee, slowly spoons sugar into it. He strokes the cat's black fur and says, "This contact is illusory. The cat and I are separated as though by a pane of glass, because man lives in time, in successiveness, while the magical animal lives in the present, in the eternity of the instant." What do you say back to him? And he to you? What does the cat do? What happened to this man before he came into the bar?
The cat twists his neck into the man's hand and leaned its head back satisfied at the rhythmic touch of skin to fur. The man distracted by the hot sweetness of his coffee continues to speak to no one in particular, "What divinity to live just in the moment." As I pull out the stool beside him, he turns recognizing for the first time I am there. He forces a grin that fails to manifest in his eyes and he looks at my bags and back at his coffee.
"Yes, heading out west for a job interview."
"See what I mean. You are heading somewhere. Always moving forward. Never stopping. I assume you are moving away from something too." This was not a question, but a statement of understanding. He had walked a similar walk before.
I looked at the single page menu and ordered a coffee and two slices of toast.
"You see this cat does not care what will happen in the next minute. It knows right now it is happy. It is drunk in the now. It will stay and its inners will vibrate in a contented purr. It remembers nothing of the moment before and refuses to care of the moment to come."
"Well, I, uh, I never really thought of what a cat is thinking before," I stammered out words not knowing what to say, nor really feeling inclined to pursue the conversation. "I guess it would be nice to live in the moment....but I would not know how to start."
"What if your destiny lies in this minute."
I turned to look at him and realized he no longer was looking at me, talking to me, but was instead lost again in his own thoughts. His face flat and lost in the what ifs of days gone by. He was destined to never live in the present because of regrets of not embracing moments years before.
"I think I will take this order to go." This was my destiny. I did not embrace the words of this sage, but would learn too soon how important his message would prove to be.