My failure to remain in the moment became obvious when I nearly stepped on a deadly Russell Viper coiled in the middle of the path looking like an innocent pile of leaves. I just could not let go of the tiger episode. “Weren’t you afraid of dying last night?” I asked incredulously.

The fearless man laughed heartily, “I set my mind free of the tiger last night, but I see he still holds yours captive! In this very moment, this precious moment, there is no tiger; there are only your thoughts and this beautiful forest; and everything is perfect. Tomorrow, there might be another tiger in your life, and so what if there is? That moment will be perfect as well. It will be perfect because wherever you find yourself; that is exactly where you must be.

“Why can’t you die right now, to your desires and ambitions, your worries and fears? Can you let go of memories, security, and self-identity? Can you come up empty; dying to everything you are familiar with without fearing tomorrow? Without dying to these things, how will you ever free yourself to feel real love, not attachment or lust, but real unconditional, universal love?”

I knew one thing; I was not ready to die right now! I was, however, determined to stop my preoccupied mind from endlessly stealing my precious moments and imprison me in my past and future. I could understand how this moment would someday be my legacy; my true being of unbridled freedom and love, and I instinctively knew that the special moment a john talked about was completely alive, unknown, and immeasurable; embracing both my key and Infinity. I was convinced that it reflected my true nature, which could only be timeless, and that it must be as vast as Infinity; the only place I could ever be truly defined. I just didn’t know how to stay in my moment.

When could I actually step into this moment and remain there? Surely when I could, my entire being would be transformed, moved supernaturally from selfish fear into all-encompassing love. Then I would know for myself, somehow without knowing, that everything is perfect just as it is.

We crested a small hill revealing a peaceful valley spread out below. Little huts squatted in the shade of banana and coconut groves blanketed in a subtle layer of thin, blue smoke from charcoal cooking fires. When the sharp stones covering the lane into the village surprised my tender feet accustomed only to the soft forest floor, a John whispered, “Your feet will be tough as sandals in eight months.” He was so awake! Nothing escaped his awareness.

Water buffalo were tied underneath the dwellings, casting wary eyes toward us and lowering their heads in annoyance knowing that soon they would be led to the rice paddies for plowing. Dogs with missing ears and mangy fur ran wild, while smiling mothers stood outside their huts washing their babies by throwing cold buckets of water on their naked, chilled bodies. The villagers would stop their activities for a moment when we walked by out of respect for the two men who had dedicated their lives to the higher ideals.

I looked back at one of the young mothers. She was happy in this precious moment of her life. Who in the many worlds are happier than this impoverished villager with her baby right now? What wealth and power could create a better moment than hers in this small village? A John’s companionship was definitely having an influence on my perspectives.