Every Moment

Coming Ashore, Evening, oil on canvas, Warren Sheppard

'Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: "on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death"—that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.
                      O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgment of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.'
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
                                  Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.

~ T.S. Eliot, from "The Dry Salvages," the third poem of his Four Quartets

Commentary by Phillip Moffitt from Dancing with Life:

Eliot is saying that there is only this moment in your life, and each moment is a death and a rebirth. You only exist as a string of moments and you are new and different in each moment. It is only when you are present in a moment that you are capable of affecting your life or another's. You fail to notice this truth because life is constantly changing and because of the power of memory and association.

When Eliot cautions not to think of the fruit of your actions, he is echoing the Buddha's teaching of nonattachment. To be nonattached is "to care" and "to not care" simultaneously, which can only be realized as an insight, not as a concept. Through meditation and practice of the Twelve Insights [of the four noble truths which is the theme of his book] in daily life, you slowly come to understand this paradoxical wisdom, which is the way to dance with life.