There is something to be said for living in the now. Not the past or the future, but in this very moment. But how many of us can do it? It’s definitely not easy. It takes work and lots of practice.
Most of us live either in the past or in the future. Our beliefs, words, and actions of today are usually influenced by things that happened in the past. On the other hand, we are also constantly thinking or dreaming of the future and wishing how we would like for things to be. When we live in the moment, this very second kind of moment, the past and future disappear and we are just ‘being.’
Suffering, stress, and fear only occur when our minds are in the past or in the future. We’re stressed, angry, or upset because of something that happened or because of what someone said or did to us, and we re-live those experiences over and over in our minds as if they just happened. We allow our past to dictate our present moment and that can lead into what manifests for us in the future.
Yes, things in the past actually happened, but in the present moment, they’re just a memory and can no longer control us unless we let them which most of us do (including me). When we live in the future, we can become upset because our lives aren’t going the way we think it should; consequently, we can become depressed and some become even suicidal because we don’t think we have any control over our lives.
Some experts say that our minds don’t know the difference between what’s real or not so whatever we think upon becomes our reality. People can change their lives and have even healed their bodies and minds of illnesses and diseases just by the power of our minds and the thoughts we think. There are those with split personalities whose individual personalities can even change the way someone appears just by the power of their thoughts. Thus, our thoughts have more power than we could ever imagine.
If you think about it, we’re always thinking. For some of us, our minds never shut up! There are times, though, that thoughts are quieted such as when we’re watching a movie or TV show and we’re in the moment of what is happening on the screen. We could be listening to music and we’re in the moment of the lyrics and melody. We could also be meditating where we clear our minds of all thoughts and just sit in the moment.
There’s a lot to be said about meditation. I wish I liked to meditate more than I do, but I can only meditate for a few moments here and there (sometimes longer), and that’s okay. When I quiet my mind, I become aware of my loving consciousness and of my connection to everything around me. On those occasions when I can just be in the moment, all the stress that I feel of the past and future goes away and I can feel completely at peace with my life. It happens more when I’m in nature and connected to Mother Earth. It also happens when I’m listening to meditation music. I wish I could live in the present moment all the time, but in reality, it’s almost impossible for the average person to do so, especially when our lives are so busy.
When I do have troubles quieting my mind in meditation, I have found that if I smile even slightly, my mind stops chattering. I’m not sure of the connection, but I do know that smiling gets the feel good critters going in our brains so it must help put the mind at ease.
If you are interested in learning more about living in the now, I would highly recommend reading “The Power of Now - A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle. It was recommended by Oprah Winfrey, has sold millions of copies, and has been translated into over 33 languages.
Tolle states, “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love - even the most simple action.” He also said, “Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an incredible liberation this is!” And lastly he wrote, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 4, 2016.