Here and Now

I’ve been talking, in recent posts, about the power of living consciously, in the present moment. Being present happens as you practice living here and now. In fact, this moment is the only moment that is real. You live your entire life in a series of moments called “now.” The past does not exist, not just several years or a couple of months back but even five minutes ago. It is gone. Life has moved on.

The value of the past and future

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in thinking about the past. Who you are today was shaped by your past, or more accurately by the narrative that you tell yourself about the past. You have lots of good memories from the past that you can access and enjoy. You also have memories of painful events from the past. These have also helped shape you into the person you are today. These memories serve you. You can learn from them, particularly as you tell yourself a new story about what happened in the past. However, those memories, and your narrative, don’t exist in the past. They occur now, in this moment. (Someone has said that it is never too late to have a happy childhood.)

Likewise, the future does not exist. You can think about it. In fact, there is value in dreaming and planning for the future. However, be clear that your dreaming and planning also take place in a moment of here and now.

This moment is all that you have

“Now” is all there is. This moment is the only moment that you have. The implications are pretty incredible. When do you make up stories about past events? When do you decide what an event means? When can you create a new narrative? Make choices? Be happy? Take your power back? It all happens in a moment of “now.”

Likewise, “here” is all there is. Where are you at this moment? Where are you not? What are the consequences of trying to live where you are not? It doesn’t matter how much you would like to be on the ski slopes or on a beach at Waikiki. You are where you are. Where will you be this evening? Where will you not be?

You disempower yourself when you wish you were somewhere other than where you are. You compare this moment with some other moment. You take away from the experience of being here. You fail to recognize the opportunity available by being here and knowing that “here” is the only context in which you can make choices, be confident, experience your life.

“Here and now” seems like such an obvious, almost trivial point. Yet most people fail to live this principle. They habitually try to live in the past or future. They dwell on the past, wishing they could go back to the “good ol’ days,” regretting and ruminating about earlier mistakes or negative experiences, or judging today by a standard that doesn’t even exist. Or, they worry about the future, anticipating the evils that might come to pass, or waiting for some future event (the weekend, when the kids leave home, retirement).

In either case, there are consequences. It becomes impossible to be fully alive and make good choices in the present. We chain ourselves to a prison of our own making and wonder why we are not happy, believing that something outside of us needs to change before we will be happy.

Be present here and now

So work on being present here and now. When you’re putting your kids to bed, put your kids to bed. Stay awake in staff meeting and stop blaming your boss for your boredom. When going for a walk, be present to notice the feelings of your body’s movement as well as the beauty all around you. Like I discussed a few weeks back, savor simple experiences. When eating a meal, pay attention to the taste and texture of the food. Be present in this moment and see how life begins working for you. By showing up for life, we experience the fullness and completeness of the present moment. It improves the quality of anything and everything we do.

Living in the present also simplifies life greatly. We’re able to let go of baggage from the past or worries about the future and channel our full energies into the experience and opportunity available now. By showing up we experience the fullness and completeness of the present moment. It improves the quality of anything and everything we do. It is an important pathway to getting into peak performance.

This moment is all you have. Handle it well and the rest will take care of itself.

Would you like to read more? Have a look at our blog post Being present.


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