SMF: You have indicated that you are a “believer in the excellence of the current moment” and that your “epistemology embraces the necessity of joy in the moment, moment by moment.” Many people focus on the future or get stuck in the events of the past. What does a person need to do in order to “stand in the present”?
Hanna: Sigh. A person needs imperfect faith that G-d has not carried him or her this far only to drop him or her. Just last night, I was validating a friend’s objectively very difficult situation. I also gently told that friend that even though she had a legitimate mountainside-worth of problems before her, she could not tackle them more than a teaspoon at time. The greatest work most of us have to do is to release our anxieties about how and when we will meet our goals.
Common anxieties often take the form of “if I don’t do x (push past my limit, manipulate other people, etc.), then I won’t have enough y (love, money, success, etc.).” We can’t control outcomes, only efforts. Humility is knowing that after we do everything we can, we have to release the results.
Consequently, the present is the only place of truth. Hashem continuously recreates the world. I don’t and can’t know what the next five minutes, days, or weeks will bring, though I have to act on the best insights I have during
any span. In balance, when I am applying my teaspoon to my mountain of “growth opportunities,” sometimes I feel so drained that I need to break down my efforts into days or hours or minutes.