“A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call doing our duty. We loiter in winter while it is already spring. “
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The first quote, excerpted from Walden, Henry David Thoreau’s inspiring account of the year he spent living on Walden Pond in 1845, still resonates over 165 years later. The second is attributed to George Santayana (1863-1952), a Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist born Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás. While it may seem to be in direct contrast to Thoreau’s, we find them to be like peanut butter and chocolate – highly complementary.
Thoreau advises us to live in the present always. Santayana reminds us to remember our past to avoid repeating it. We can only surmise that living in the past would be equally upsetting for both of them – Thoreau because of the missed opportunity to move forward from our past and to Santayana because the only fate that may be worse than repeating our past is to relive it day after day after day.
Spring is in the air, dear yogis, it’s time to spring ahead.