“It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past. Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.” Jim Bishop
When people suggest that I “live in the moment” I understand the concept and can recognize the value (I read and loved Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power Of Now”). But I secretly wonder, “How on earth do you really do that?”
Yesterday, I spent one of the last glorious days of summer lazing on the beach with a dear friend. We were basking in the final rays of the afternoon sun when the conversation turned to his single status. He shared with me that an old girlfriend, currently married was potentially about to be single again. Knowing he had a “thing” for this woman in the past, and a desire to be in a relationship now, I was all over the “potential” that they may yet end up together.
Sensing his overt lack of enthusiasm over my colorfully painted vision of his future, I asked him what was up; to which he replied, “I don’t live in the past or the future, I live in the moment”.
“Live in the moment? What the heck does that mean? How do you do THAT?” I retorted, with plenty of excitement in my voice. He told me he didn’t know how he did it, he just did.
As afternoon faded into evening his response stayed with me. I began wondering why I so automatically move out of the present and into the future. I put myself in his shoes and imagined how I might deal with the same situation. I discovered that I leave the present and go into the future to protect myself. If I run all the possible scenarios through my mind, good or bad, and “prepare” myself for what might be, I figure, fore warned is fore armed? Right? Well, maybe not.
Now, let this be said, I’m not saying planning’s a bad thing, or dreaming for that matter. But it doesn’t escape my notice that a lot of the future “projecting” I do isn’t peaceful. My teacher and friend Byron Katie is famous for saying “if you want fear on purpose, get a future, if you want shame, get a past.
How are you doing with staying in the present moment?
Here are some tips I’ve learned that help me stay a bit longer in the present moment.
1. When you find yourself imagining fearful scenarios ask yourself, “Is this the only possibility?” Search for what else could be true, rather than what you fear.
2. Remind yourself that worrying about the future or regretting the past isn’t going to change what has or is going to happen.
3. Do you have a fundamental trust that whatever happens you’re going to be ok? Can you find times from your past that serve as evidence that this is true? If so, draw on that experience.
4. Are your basic needs met, does your life work? Often we move into the future because we think it will be better there. Consider addressing what ever is not in balance so it will become desirable to be more in the now.
5. Practice the power of the present. Focus on something positive or beautiful right here and now and breathe it in. Let yourself fully feel it.
6. Then, be willing to let go of that too and move on to the next moment.
After our invigorating conversation my friend and I walked to the waters edge to experience the ocean. We both gasped when the chill of the water hit our bare feet. We laughed and looked at each other and both expressed the joy of being able to share the moment.
Helaine Iris is a certified Life Coach, writer and teacher that loves her life. For a solution focused complimentary session visit her website http://www.pathofpurpose.com or call her 603-357-8546 or email her email@example.com