If not now, when.
Actually, the entire quote is “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
These are the words of one of the greatest Jewish scholars, Rabbi Hillel, also known as Hillel the Elder. Hillel lived in the beginning of the common era, roughly 2000 years ago. His admonition, “if not now, when,” is taken to refer to the necessity to attend to obligations now, in this moment, and to not put off that which is essential.
Be mindful now. Such a simple injunction. Taken with Hillel’s admonition, what am I waiting for if I do not direct my intentionality to the present moment? When do I want to live? Next year? Back when I was 12 years old?
I only have now. So why do I fret? Tomorrow isn’t here. Why do I regret? Yesterday is over; I can’t change it.
When is the time to be mindful? What am I waiting for? How about you? Did you sit today? Did you walk mindfully? Eat mindfully? What excuse did I give myself? Was I at least able to be mindful of my mindless excuse?
If not now, when. Be mindful now.
4 replies on “Be Mindful Now”
A very good way to begin the day! I think I’ll copy it
and read it every morning.
Thanks! I’ll be as diligent as possible to provide “breakfast” food for thought.
This is my favorite out of your piece: “I only have now. So why do I fret? Tomorrow isn’t here. Why do I regret? Yesterday is over; I can’t change it.” For me that is something worth printing out, laminating, and hanging in my house, so I can remember that. I’m someone who always worries and regrets the past, even if there is nothing I can do, and then I worry about tomorrow or the following week, and I almost never enjoy the present moment. I’m tired of missing out on the fun and happy moments of my life that are right there, and I really appreciate your reminder. So thanks! I’m going to work on enjoying the simple things, like the walk to the train and my lunch today, as a starting point!
Hey, the simple things are the best invitations to mindfulness! That walk to the train, or small box of raisins, all provide great eternal moments. Glad to help you get to a starting point.