Learning to Live in the Present
My boss is so mean. Or I can’t wait to get another job. Or I’m so bored at home. I can’t wait to travel to Paris. I feel so lonely. If only my husband would really start listening to me. Ever catch yourself thinking on these lines? With X amount of money in the bank, or that house or this car, my life will be perfect. Or that most common one of them all – I’m so fat but I will be so happy and confident when I lose all of this weight. Is your happiness conditional? Are you happy right now? Or do you need to take a moment to relearn something you once knew? Do you need to learn to live in the present?
The past is gone and the future is uncertain.
Think about how often we ruin our present when we think about the past. When we regret what was or what could have been, we are letting this cast a pall of gloom on our present. We do this even with the full awareness that we can do nothing to change our past, but we still sigh over all the if-onlys. Those past regrets are what prevent our current happiness – even when you may be in a much better place today than you were. That feeling that there was something you could have done or not done differently yesterday is destroying your today. Learning to live in the present is all about refusing to relinquish your power to that yesterday.
Thinking about the future similarly limits us. We have been conditioned by society to be ambitious; to dream of a certain idealized version of success. That success has more to do with the outward trappings such as possessions and money and less to do with the evolution of the spirit, alas! This is not to say that ambition is bad, and there is, of course, nothing wrong with striving for success. The problem lies in thinking, wanting, waiting for that future. The problem lies in not appreciating the present moment and letting an uncertain tomorrow suck the joy out of your today. So, to learn to live in the present, you have to learn not to dwell so much either on the past or the future.
How to learn to live in the present.
I so agree with Louise Hay, who said “Your point of power is in the present moment”… not in the past, because you cannot change it, and not in the future because you cannot control it. The yearning for what could have been or even what is going to be is you checking out in a sense. It is you rejecting the beauty of now in favor of something that didn’t happen in the past and may not happen in the future. It is like starving yourself of the love, care, and joy you deserve and need right now!
The first tool for learning to live in the present is Awareness or Mindfulness. No matter what you’re doing, do it fully. Truly inhabit and commit to the present moment whether you’re working, eating, spending time with your family, or out in nature. Be fully present with whoever is with you. I have two more tools to help you learn to live in the present – click here to know more.
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