The willingness and ability to live fully in the now eludes many people. While eating your appetizer, don’t be concerned with dessert. While reading a book, notice where your thoughts are. While on vacation, be there instead of thinking about what should have been done and what has to be done when returning home. Don’t let the elusive present moment get used up by thoughts that aren’t in the here and now.
There’s an irony to this habit of letting your mind drift to other times and other places. You can only drift off in the now, because now is all you ever get. So drifting off is a way of using up your present moments. You do indeed have a past, but not now! And, yes, you have a future, but not now! You can consume your now with thoughts of “then” and “maybe,” but that will keep you from the inner peace you could experience.
Do God’s other creatures waste the present in thoughts of the past and future? A beaver only does beaver, and he does it right in the moment. He doesn’t spend his days wishing he were a young beaver again, or ruminating over the fact that his beaver siblings receive more attention, or his father beaver ran off with a younger beaver when he was growing up. He’s always in the now. Here are lessons for us about enjoying the present moment rather than using it up consumed with guilt over the past or worry about the future.
To practice living in the moment, stop and take notice of all that’s in your immediate space—the people, animals, plants, the sky, buildings, everything. Stay in the present by meditating and getting closer to the ultimate now…God. The truth is that you can only come to know God when you give up the past and the future in your mind and merge totally into the now, because God is always here now.