“Don't you ever feel like everything we do and everything we have been taught is just to service the future? You know, I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor insignificant preamble to something else"
We barely appreciate the time we have now. The present or the Now is always something elusive for most of us. From the moment we wake up, we are filled with dread of what the day will bring, and also we are weighed down by the hangover of yesterday's actions. In the end, we are forever trapped in a state of "not being," a moment outside the present. We are suspended somewhere between past regrets and future anxieties. And the present is just a way station of broodings, anxiety, regrets, and fears.
When we talk about living in the now, we are talking about being fully present to appreciate the moment we are having in real-time. It means really letting go of the things that have nothing to do with the moment. The past is gone, it's obdurate and we cannot rewind time and change it. What happened has already passed so deal with what is happening now. Because Now is going to pass and you will miss it, yet you will worry about it still.
As for the future, it will always come. But when it comes, it will present itself as the Now. In other words, the Now is just a future you were worrying about yesterday. And now that it is here, you are not even living or enjoying it because you are busy being worried about another future. Like that, people are trapped in a crazy loop where they chase a perpetually elusive projection they will never get to catch. As the spiritual adviser, Eckhart Tolle once wrote, " The present moment is all we have...The future is (just) an imagined Now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the Now."
By that, he is not inciting you to stop planning for the future. Planning is needed, but most of us spend every moment of our life planning that we barely experience the moment. It's like a person who spends many years planning a vacation trip and when he gets to go for the vacation, he spends the time there planning for the next vacation and thus fails to enjoy himself. This is how many of us are always "chasing tomorrow." Your life started the moment you were born and no one is going to come out and shout "Now is the moment to start living." Like it or not, those moments you are busy planning about the future, life is not on pause. The train has already left the station and nobody knows how far the last station is. It might be tomorrow, and you are missing out today.
So the best way is just to grab life by the horns. Live now. Live your life. Many poets, writers, and spiritual thinkers have tried to encourage people to live in the now. Henry David Thoreau succinctly expressed the trap that most people find themselves in. He wrote, "I wished to live deliberately...And not, when I come to die, discover that I had not lived…I did not wish to live what was not life…Nor did I wish to practice resignation" It is such a sad predicament to find yourself on a deathbed, worrying about all the things you planned but never got to do.
If we do not learn to get to be in the present, we will live only the shadow of a life, what Thoreau termed “not life.” It is a state of existence where we just trudge through life, driven by fears and anxieties, obeying baser imperial commands of life. You never get to fully experience the wonderful and colorful garden of life and what it has to offer. In the end, we barely live to our maximum potential, to discover our hidden talents and capabilities.
So do not let your fears rule you or bully you into a life of constant negative and defeatist thoughts. Yesterday is gone, forget it. Tomorrow will come and it is also unstoppable and unknowable. What you only have is the Now, the fluid present. Go out there, be courageous. It takes a lot of courage to let go of the baggage that weighs us down, to stop overthinking about the future, and grab the moment.
Do not get distracted, be curious about things like culture, music, poetry, etc. Do not wait for the "right time" to take that much-awaited vacation. Find the time to do new things, discover new hobbies. Take a walk in nature, and get away from that screen. Be like Thoreau who pledged to such all the marrow out of life. Dare to be different, tolerant, and non-conformist. Just live a life you love to live, not inflicting harm on anyone. Only when you challenge yourself to follow those passions of yours will you truly experience the Now.
Peace, Love & Prosperity!
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