One of the most-used terms of the 21st Century has to be the term “live in the present”. I totally get what it means, and I’m sure you do too. To recap, it basically means that we shouldn’t be thinking or feeling regret about what happened or what we did in the past (as there is no way of changing it) or that we shouldn’t be worrying about the future (as, again, there is no way of predicting each and every step that leads us through life). So, why not focus on the present moment and be happy?
Well, it’s not that simple, is it?
We live in a world of duality. This means that we are going to be always looking at things from a dualistic point of view, such as good versus bad, right versus wrong, beautiful versus ugly – well you got the point. We may not realize it immediately, but deep down we need to understand that things actually fall somewhere in between these two polarities.
As long as we live in this duality, we are going to have the usual mind chatter that we are all too familiar with. Our mind is programmed throughout our life to label things as “good” or “bad” so that we can get through our day staying within our comfort zone. Through this process, our mind constantly chats with us, reminding where we stand with any given person or event. This chatter from our mind includes the things we did in the past or the things that may happen in the future. Don’t blame your mind. It just wants us to remain within our comfort zone.
This programming makes it very difficult to live in the present, as the chatter never stops, as its goal is grandious: to protect us. Really! It’s trying to keep us within our comfortable zone.
But then, why is it so important to live in the present?
The most important reason for being in the present is the “inner peace” that we gain. Whenever we find ourselves living in the present, we get a glimpse of that “inner peace”. Think about the activities you love doing. While you enjoy your hobby, with full focus, you don’t know how the time passes and at the end, you feel a relaxed state of mind. That is because of the inner peace you reach during the performance of that activity.
How about carrying that wonderful feeling onto our daily life? Yes, it is POSSIBLE to go through a boring meeting or conversation with that same state of peaceful mind. But only if we could quiet our mind chatter. And for that, I don’t know any more effective activity than meditation and self-observation.
Letting go of the past, or going with the flow for our future plans are not easy tasks. Everybody uses these terms to encourage us to live in the present. I learned when going through my personal and spiritual transformation that these are easy to say, but hard to perform tasks. I’m not fully there yet, but I try to practice to “live in the present” whenever I self-observe myself thinking about the past or planning for the future.
The empowering tool to practice self-observation is Meditation. In order to self-observe, we need to have solid foundation beneath our feet so that we can stand strong when we are dealing with our emotions and our mind.
Through meditation, I was able to feel that “inner peace” and acknowledge how it feels like. When you realize that connection more and more, you will go there during your daily activities, with a clearer mind and better focused attention . That’s when a life in balance and harmony will start blossoming. Right at that time, you will find that “living in the present” is actually very joyful.