Saturday, July 10, 2010

What is NOW?

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, December 2007

Quote of the month:
Make each moment
an occasion to live
in Peace.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

What is NOW?  What is the Present?

I looked up "now" in the dictionary.  It says, "the present time or moment"...... so I had that much already!

Think of every moment leading up to this moment in time..... your birth, your first day of school, followed by middle and high school, what you did on your vacation last summer, what you had for dinner last night.... all of that is past.

Every moment that has not yet happened, that is future.  What you will eat for lunch tomorrow, how you will celebrate the New Year for 2012, where you will live in the year 2020.  

Try to imagine, just for a moment, that both of these - your past and future - do not exist...... 

Can you imagine it? 

What we are left with is NOW. 

Let's take it a step further.  In reality the past is over and not here in this moment.  What you had for dinner last night is not here in front of you.  The only way to access the past is to go into our minds, our memory, and think about it... remember it.  

Further, in reality the future has not happened yet.  The weatherman may make a prediction as to what it will be like tomorrow, but it is only that - a prediction or a guess.  You may make plans for your upcoming holiday or vacation, but it is not here yet.  The only way to access the future is to go into our imaginations and think about what it might be like. 

So, I am going to suggest something that may initially sound somewhat shocking.... but try to sit with it for a moment.  The reality is that the past and future DON'T EXIST!  All we ever have is right NOW!  

If that is the case, why do so many of us (myself included) act as if we are in the past or future?  Some planning for the future is necessary.  To paraphrase Marianne Williamson.... don't just show up at the airport and expect there will be a seat for you, on the plane where you want to go!  But many of us get lost in the future, like living for the weekend or looking forward to a special event, such as a vacation, to the exclusion of where you are in the moment.  

Many of us often act from the past as well.  Have you ever had a heated exchange with someone only to recount it over and over in your head for the next hour, or day or week... or longer.... and all the lucky people in your life also usually get to re-live it again with you!  We've all done that at some time in our lives!

I'll share an example from my own life. In 11th grade, I was a passenger in the front seat of a car that was in an accident.  My head hit and broke the windshield (I can hear some of you saying - "Oh, that explains a lot!")  ; )  My point is that to this day, I am still a very nervous passenger because of that accident nearly 30 years ago!  How can something that happened so many years in the past have such an influence on me NOW?  If I could let it be in the past, it would be over, right? 

My simple suggestion this month is to see how often you can "catch" yourself in the past or in the future.  When you do, do not give yourself a hard time, simply remind yourself that all we really ever have is right HERE, right NOW.  

To quote from The Peaceful Warrior
Socrates:  Where are you? 
Dan Millman:  Here. 
Socrates: What time is it? 
Dan Millman:  Now. 

It is always that way! 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to leave them in the "comments" section below. 

In a few days, I'll post some related writings from Leonard Jacobson on being Present.  

To read last month's post called I Got a Worm for my Birthday.... click here. 

Until then.... 
Keep it simple! 

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