Living in the Present

the feeling mind

Some years back, I heard that wonderful American singer and folk poet, Tom Paxton, say: ‘It’s okay to look back, but it’s rude to stare’. It made sense then, and it makes sense now.

We were not made to spend our time gazing at the past. In order to write a new chapter in the book of our life, we need to end our reading of the previous ones – no matter when, where, or how they were written.

Shaping fresh, new chapters requires us to keep our eyes wide open to subtle shifts in our understanding – our knowledge, and our knowing. When we allow this, we become free to choose where our energy might most wisely be invested. Having learned from the past, we move the dial forward and live.

We do have a choice. We can remember love or compassion having happened in the past or feel fear or anxiety about it the future, but we can only really experience it in the now.

Plan for Today Not Yesterday

The influential thinker, Paul Tillich, wrote a book called ‘The Courage to Be’, and in it he talks about the amazing courage it takes for us to get up every day and despite knowing the uncertainties of life, celebrate the present moment. He was absolutely right: Life is not always easy. Living does take courage.

If you find focusing on the now difficult, consider practicing some form of contemplation meditation. Try once a day to slow your breathing and let your mind find a centre point of calm, unaffected by the turbulence of yesterday or the mists of tomorrow. Practicing this mindfulness will help you stay grounded in the moment, living today and planning for a fulfilled future.

Self-hypnosis is another excellent way to stay centred and live in the now. With it, we can release ourselves from the hurry of doing, and simply allow ourselves to be. And when we allow ourselves to be, then we free ourselves to live in the only place that we can live – the now.

If you are living in the past you are depressed. If you are living in the future you are anxious.
If you are living in the present you are at peace.
’ – Lao Tzu

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