Some say that moms are the most important people in the world, after all; where would we be without moms? And dads too. We wouldn’t be at all!!

Sisters and brothers can be very important in our lives, and in many ways create the foundations of what we are by testing us throughout our life’s journey. And when they are gone, we miss them terribly.

Then there are our grandmothers and grandfathers; a wealth of wisdom that quickly slips through our fingers before we have a chance to really talk with them.

Friends! How about our many friends who have seen us through all of our scrapes and bruises? What would we do without friends? Or lovers? Maybe our wives and husbands are, after all, the most important people, or perhaps . . . it is our children.

Could it be our president, or our congressional representatives? Hmm, probably not! Is it our religious figures or our corporate icons? Who could it be?

Dare we think that the most important person in the world is none other than ourselves? Well - that would be a bit egotistical - probably true, but not ideal!

So who could it really be; that most important person in the world? I contend that it is the next person you meet.

The next person you meet is the only person that exists in the world at that particular moment - for you. In that exact instant, they are everything, and anything else is imagination. But we don’t realize the importance of this meeting, and take such meetings for granted, being barely conscious of them. Passing ships on a foggy night.

Where are we, if not present in this one, amazing moment? If we could but experience just one moment in time, truly and completely, our entire lives would change. New worlds would open before our very eyes, and a life that can become so wearisome would take on a new life of its own. And we would be renewed.

When our minds are focused on the reality of that which is directly in front of us, a powerful energy is produced. When we no longer take for granted everyday situations, a door opens to the most profound understandings within the ordinariness of life.

You may have met people who have this knack. You become the most important thing in their world the moment you meet them, as if they melt into your very being and become a part of you, completely forgetting about themselves and their problems and distractions. It makes quite an impression, and you remember them.

This is called selflessness; compassion from a standpoint of unity, but also wisdom from a standpoint of individuality. These four melding together, wisdom, compassion, unity, and individuality - dissolve barriers.

When we lack this kind of bare attention, we never see the other. All we see are images of the other. Then the compassion changes to suspicion, the wisdom to ignorance, and unity is sacrificed totally for individuality. Lack of attention breeds fear, because when we don’t see clearly, we become fearful of the unknown. Only when we know every aspect of a situation, which means being present in all circumstances, can fear dissolve and love emerge.

The flip side of not seeing clearly is the worry and fear we live with every day. Regardless of how good it gets, something is always there to remind us that we are vulnerable to things changing, or to remind us of the harrowing prospect that our circumstances may never change! Only when we see clearly how things work can we forget about them, and ourselves, and experience the freedom to truly relate to others. Otherwise, we remain entrapped in a confining, self-absorbed identity that is totally individual, lacking all concept of unity.

If you have experienced yourself absorbing into something greater, bigger than yourself, then you understand the importance of living each moment. It is a skill; an important one in a world that needs some love.

But it takes courage, the highest courage.

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit