Living in the Now
For the last few decades there has been a ‘catch cry’, Live in the NOW or moment and you can resolve many of your issues. A whole new therapy has emerged around Living in the NOW called Mindfulness. So what is this all about?
Humans ability to think and feel is both a positive and negative force. We also have the ability to be aware of our own thoughts and feelings, this awareness is our real positive power and is the essence of being in the moment – the essence of Mindfulness.
Consider these two statements: ‘I am angry/sad/hurt” and “I am experiencing anger/sadness/hurt”. There is a world of difference between the two. The first statement “I am …..” you are making an identity out of your thoughts or feelings. The second statement “I am experiencing….” you are not making an identity out of your thoughts or feelings but rather observing them. This is the essence of the power of now – ie observing or being aware of your thoughts and feelings and not making them an identity. Master this and you can regain your power or connection with yourself. You do not have to sit on some mountain top trying to meditate your way into enlightenment, you can practice being aware of your thoughts and feelings throughout your busy day.
The reality is that the only reality is the here and now. Think about it, the past has been and gone and the future has not happened yet – there is only this moment. Sure you can drift off into the past or create an anxious feeling by drifting off into the ‘what if’ future but the only reality is the here and Now. If you observe your thoughts you automatically bring yourself into the Now. You are greater than your past story or your imagined future. Don’t make a ‘self’ out of the past or imagined future.
Once in the Now you have your power back – increased ability to make choices. You cannot observe something in the past or the future you can only observe something in the here and Now. This is called detachment or being an observer or being aware.
Detachment / Observing
The difference between being detached from your emotions and being swept away by them is the difference between standing on a bridge looking down on rushing water below you and being in the water. When you are in the water, you can see only a little of it – the water is around you. When you are angry, for example, you can only experience your anger. When you are on the bridge, you can see the stream – you can see your anger approach, rush under the bridge, and move downstream. That is detachment or being an observer.
Detachment allows you to remain aware of what you feel while the events of your life unfold. When you are detached, your emotions run through you like water through a hose. You are the hose. The same water does not stay in the same place in a hose when turned on. The fear, resentment, anger, depression, contentment, jealousy, rage or joy that you feel do not stay, either. When you look at your emotions in this way you can detach from them enough that you will not be controlled by them.
When you stand on the bridge and experience your anger etc, no matter how painful the sensations in your body are, you are the master of your anger etc, and you control what you do. Each time you do this, your anger etc loses power over you and you gain power over it. When you are aware of your emotions and what is occurring around you, you step into the present moment.
A Tool Box for Living in the Moment
Witness the thought / feeling and even the deeper self behind the thought.
Put more energy into the watching rather than the mental formation of thoughts.
Think with your body. Body awareness keeps you in the present – feel the life inside. It anchors you in the NOW. Let the breath take you into the body.
Ask yourself what is going on inside me at this moment.
Withdraw attention from the past (memory) and the future (anticipation). The moment you realise you are not present, you are present.
Don’t make a ‘self’ out of the past.
Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react.
Always separate a problem from a sense of self.
Accept that relationships are here to make you conscious rather than happy.
Become aware of the bond between yourself and all creatures.
Separate the situation from the resistance to it.
Be aware that the condition of illness has nothing to do with who you truly are.
“Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift, That’s why it’s called the Present”. Origin uncertain