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A Lesson in Being Present

A Lesson in Being Present

Lila is an elderly woman with silver hair who I met recently at a Tibetan Buddhist center in my area. A tall, willowy woman, she has piercing, but kind, blue eyes. Despite her age, she is very upright and spry, while her husband, Greg, is doubled over with arthritis. He, too, has very kind eyes, and his have a sparkle. I suspect they are both in their early 80s.

Bearing rice dishes and dals, this lovely couple devote hours of their time tending to the needs of the two sweet-hearted resident Lamas and the center. Lila is especially welcoming to novices like me, helping with some of the intricacies of Tibetan Buddhist practice. I have felt fully under her wing as I tentatively step into some of the practices, and it has felt like a good wing to be under.

It was in this capacity, being tutored, that found me pulling up behind Lila and Greg’s car this morning, while she ran into the center to pick up a few things before leading the way to a Fire Puja offered by a bigger center nearby. I stepped out of my car to say hi to Greg, leaving it running in the cold because I knew she would only be a few minutes.

Truthfully, I wasn’t even thinking that I had left my car running until I realized she had turned hers off. She was present enough with her intention to conserve energy and gas that she thought to turn off her car. I was not, even though I, too, dearly want to conserve energy. My lack of attention to my best intention surprised me. I wasn’t present enough in the moment.

How well Lila’s long and devoted Tibetan Buddhist practice has benefited the planet by helping her be so present.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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1:39AM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

nice story, nice people-- Lila and Greg-- good to be reminded about being present. Thank you, Annie.

10:46PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Very nice post. thank you

1:52AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

A simple but wonderfully meaningful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings to you, Lila and Greg.

12:41AM PDT on May 29, 2011

A day is never wasted if you learn something :)

12:54PM PDT on May 28, 2011

Thank you. very nice article.

4:59AM PST on Jan 20, 2010


4:43AM PST on Jan 19, 2010

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

FILM 2012


8:27AM PDT on Jun 7, 2008

Thank you for this article, I needed it.

2:17PM PDT on May 28, 2008

i really enjoyed this article. its so true what u say about being in the now, thanks for this, its like a light in my head turned on!!

8:10AM PDT on May 22, 2008

Great article. I bought a hybrid car for just this reason - smaller carbon footprint to help the planet. Also, it shuts itself down when you are stopped.

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