Our mind doesn’t rest even for a second when we are awake. It constantly keeps itself preoccupied with thoughts. However, by constantly thinking about the past and the future, our mind is denying us an opportunity to live in the present. We hardly ever realize what is happening right now. As a result, we fail to see life as it unfolds before our eyes. The result is stress and worries.
Zen teachings tell us that the past is gone. We have absolutely no control over it. The future is unknown. There is no point in worrying about something that may or may not happen.
The present is very much here. It is in this moment that we make all of our decisions. It is in this moment that we live all of our lives and feel all of our emotions. This moment is the ultimate truth. So give it the attention it rightly deserves.
To live in the present is to be aware of its ‘nowness’. It is to be aware of everything that is happening at the moment. And it is to celebrate the life force that keeps us going. To live in the present is to be carefree. It is to be free of depressing and frightening thoughts that constantly pull us down.
Living in the present is good for our physical and emotional wellbeing. When you live in the present, you will have to deal with fewer negative emotions. To live in the present is to forget about guilt and regret. These are usually the results of thinking about the past. Stress and fear on the other hand, result from thinking about the future. When you live in the present, you get to appreciate all good things in your life. This makes you thankful and throws open a lot of possibilities.
But how can we live in the present?
Awareness is the key. Think about this. Will you notice your absence when you are not present in a given situation? It takes tremendous amounts of practice to make yourself aware of the present moment. We have a fickle mind. It is constantly flitting from one thought to the next. In order to live in the present, you need to tame its capricious nature. One way of making yourself aware of the present moment is to focus on your body. Focus your attention on your breath or senses. Your mind may be elsewhere, but your body has always lived in the present. It can’t feel the pain or pleasure of past and future.
Don’t resist the present moment. Accept it the way it is. As each moment unfolds itself before your eyes, greet it with gratitude and appreciation. Every moment throws open endless possibilities and challenges. Embrace them. Remember that the present opens to the future. So if you can make the present perfect, you will be able to shape the future the way you want it to be. The possibilities are endless.
One way of living in the present is to be fully aware of the realness and immediacy of experience. The present moment is free of past regrets and future expectations. See every moment as a great opportunity to live your passions.
Don’t value today for its perceived effects on tomorrow. This is a mistake. Some people work hard in the present with the objective of succeeding in the future. While this can’t be considered as wrong, it is different than living in the present. When you focus too much on the future value of the present moment, you are unnecessarily inviting stress and worries into your life. This will also prevent you from enjoying the wholeness of the event. Treat each moment as an end in itself.
So live in this moment. This will happen only once in your life. Capture it. Enjoy its fullness. Be grateful for getting an opportunity to live in this moment.