Yesterday already happened. For that matter, the last hour, minute, even the last second already occurred. There’s nothing you can do about what has already come to pass. It’s out there in the universe. Tomorrow hasn’t been experienced yet. The next minute is still to come. Anticipating tomorrow can still leave one wanting in the now of the moment.
What we have is right now; every person and every thing has access to it. How are you choosing to live at this precise moment in time? How are you choosing to feel at this second? Oh yeah. In case you didn’t know. You do have the right to choose how you feel.
Some may assume that I’m saying we shouldn’t learn from the past and shouldn’t dream of the future. Those ideas couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a way to live happily in the now by choosing to learn from the pain of the past while also relishing the excitement of a better tomorrow. It’s by choosing to live in the current moment.
I know that life generally blows when I choose to live in the passion of yesterday, and I often find myself daydreaming about tomorrow’s success. Like many others, I frequently find myself anywhere but the present. Based on certain circumstances, the present can really suck… if you allow it to.
The Buddha said,
Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.”
Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, we should be embracing the moment. With that in mind, a good habit to pick up is “mindful eating”. I’m HORRIBLE at this, and yet I know how much better I feel when I do it. I slowly chew my food. I see it feeding and sustaining me. If I don’t see/feel the sustenance and health benefits, then I’m doing something wrong (like eating fast food one too many times in a month or watching television while I eat). Mindlessness is not embracing the moment.
How to Now requires doing something that is right in the moment, not something you will regret later. I ride a bike to work. Failing to live in the now while I’m making my commute through a busy city to/from work could kill me; therefore, I observe and absorb as much of my surroundings as possible. In this way, I will make the right choice should a car driver not be so observant of my presence. I’ve had to swerve out of harm’s way on many occasions. When that happens, I am quite thankful for the Now.
Recognizing that others are inhabiting, and trying to survive in, this world is also an element of living in the now moment. Knowing our emotions can be habitual, choosing to live in the Now means recognizing negative emotional habits when they occur, and changing them to reflect a less stressful mindset.
I did it the other day when I recognized my judgment of other bike riders. I didn’t like the way I felt when I judged others whom I’d never even met. I stopped my empty assuming and chose mindfulness in that moment, and I came to the conclusion that we were all simply trying to survive each moment.
I have a friend who is worried that her past transgressions with money will affect her future plans. I’ve tried sharing with her that she only has now. Her actions NOW can positively affect the outcome of her future, and the deeds that occurred before can be wiped from the slate by current thoughts and behaviors.
I’ts Now o’clock. How are you choosing to live it?