“Look, therefore, to this one day, for it and it alone is life.” – Indian Sanskrit Poem
Being a people watcher can be fascinating. If you don’t believe me, take a seat in the middle of a shopping mall or sit on a park bench along a busy avenue, and take several minutes to simply observe human behavior. Trust me – you will find yourself entertained by some, enlightened by a few, enchanted by others, and unfortunately appalled by more than you would like to think 🙂
But for today, I want you to become an observer of yourself. Take a seat on a park bench in the center of your mind. Take a clipboard or notebook and record what you observe.
Last week (or even yesterday for that matter) how often did your thoughts revolve around something from your past – even your recent past? Were you occupied with thoughts of what a coworker said to you that wasn’t so kind or harsh words that were spoken to you by your spouse? Were you reminiscing about years gone by that were better times than you are experiencing now? Did you daydream about a lost love or past friendship that meant the world to you? Were your thoughts filled with regret over something you’ve done that you wish you could take back or filled with memories of a loved one who passed away – longing to spend time with them again? Were you recalling moments of abuse, addiction, or trauma – the effects of which seem lasting to this day?
How often did you find yourself thinking about the future – what bills were coming due or how you were going to get everything accomplished that you intended to for the upcoming week? Were you nervously thinking about the test results that were due from the doctor’s office or worried about how your child will adapt to the new school year? Have you wondered how you’re going to ever save enough to retire or fearful that your start-up business will never get off the ground like you want? Will you ever meet the person of your dreams or will loneliness forever be a part of your life? What about wondering where the money is going to come from to pay for all your bills or what happens if you get laid off at work?
If you found that a majority of your thoughts were fixated in yesterday or immersed in what potentially lies ahead, well; you are not alone.
The very hard truth is this: The past is gone, the future is only an illusion. Life is now – within the present moment. There is nothing you can do right now that will impact or alter the past. In the same way, there is nothing you can do right now that will guarantee that tomorrow will arrive exactly as you planned. Life is happening now, yet often we miss out on it by a mind trapped in the past or one that is busy looking forward to something that might never be.
The breaths, the heartbeats, the smells and views – they are happening now. The critical decisions, the spoken words, the feelings and emotions are unfolding now – in this very moment – and the moments fly by quickly. In fact, the very moment you started reading this article is now gone. It’s already in the past.
Realize you have a choice. Don’t choose to embellish yesterday which is nothing but a faded memory. Don’t choose to engross yourself in tomorrow which is not real, but an illusion – never guaranteed or assured. Choose now.
Concentrate and feel the heart as it beats. Smell the aroma of the coffee and the warmth your hands feel as it holds cup. Look with intensity at the night sky – picking out the stars that shine the brightest. Feel the love and the beauty of a tender kiss or gentle embrace. Take and hold the hand of someone you love – feeling the connection of another soul to yours in their touch. Look deeply into the eyes and smiles of your children. Slow down and taste the food you enjoy that sustains you. Feel the contentment and comfort of your own bed as you settle in for the night. Stop and feel the satisfaction of work done with skill and determination or the passion you feel when you are doing something you enjoy.
Don’t cloud your mind with what was or might be. It only distracts from the beauty of right now – where life is happening all around you!
As you are sitting on the park bench in the center of your mind, think about what life would be like if you spent it focusing more on NOW. If you did….how could the past ever hold power over you again? If you purposely chose to embrace NOW, and by God’s grace were given many tomorrows, think about the wonderful life you will have lived – living each moment to its fullest!
I am not suggesting you totally eliminate all memories – and I am not telling you to forgo any planning for your future. But what I am suggesting to you is to honestly evaluate your life and how you live it today. Are you choosing NOW more often than being stuck in the past? Are you spending too much thought on the illusions and fears of tomorrow and not living the precious NOW moments – where life is truly unfolding – where it can be created and experienced in its fullness?
Start choosing NOW my friend, and you will begin LIVING a life you never imagined!