Have you ever spent days ruminating over something you did in the past or on a decision you made that can’t be changed? Have you ever noticed yourself so focused on something in the future that when you get home, you don’t remember driving your car there? The “now” in both of these examples is merely a fleeting concept, yet, for me, being in the now is the richest, most delicious place to hang out – in both challenging and fun times.
When I’m inside, I wish I was outside and when I’m outside I’m sure there’s something I should be doing inside. Again, experiencing the now is nowhere in sight. It is also challenging to be in the now when I’m worried or in pain or stressed. This is the best time, however, to practice being still and calm and centered on what is right in front of me.
My “monkey mind” – that incessant chatter that rolls around in my head – sometimes keeps me from focusing on being calm. I have struggled with this when I meditate and when I consciously focus on what’s going on right now. This monkey mind isn’t the enemy, however, but if I treat it as such, it only gets louder. If I treat it more like an insolent child, shushing it with compassion and love, it begins to quiet immediately.
When my spouse passed away a few years ago,
I promised myself one thing and one thing only. I promised to stay in the moment and feel all the feelings of the experience. I let go of doing and saying the appropriate thing. I let go of not taking time for myself when I needed it (I even pulled away from the group later that day to get my nails done, to get human contact and get calm without having to say or do anything.). I let go of comforting others and of eating this and not eating that. I can say today that my grieving process progressed much smoother than it could have – all because I did it my way, and I let the feelings of pain come in and not try to avoid, cover up or postpone them. My feelings and actions didn’t match what others might have expected, however, I was in the now throughout.
Okay, what’s the advantage of being in the now? Doesn't it help us sort things out if we can take our time at the present to review and debrief the past? Doesn’t it help us prevent future mistakes if we analyze possible future problems now? Yes and no.
Sure, in order to avoid past mistakes we need to take stock, and it is also prudent to take the time to review and plan for the future. BUT, to make best friends with all that did go or could go wrong is a waste of time. It serves no purpose except to detract from the joy of right now.
What is in front of you now to enjoy and appreciate? Is there anything from the past or the future that might be clouding that lovely and exciting look at the now?
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