Forget about those New Year’s resolutions in which you decide on the first day of January how you will be conducting your life in September, some nine months later. Here’s why: any resolution that involves you making decisions about long-range upcoming behavior reinforces the self-defeating notion of living in the future rather than in the present moment. In fact, you can go about resolving until the cows come home, and you still have to live your life just like everyone else on this planet—ONE DAY AT A TIME. The important questions to be asking yourself are “How am I going to use my present moments this year?” and “Will I waste them in reviewing to myself how I used to behave, or how I would like to behave in the future, rather than resolving to live each day to the fullest?”
What you can do is set up day-to-day goals for yourself, and then resolve to begin living with present moment awareness for the rest of your life. For example, instead of deciding you are going to give up sugar for a year, resolve to go one day without eating sugar. Anyone can do virtually anything if it is for only one day. Continue Reading
Have you noticed how often we use up the present moments of our lives, the very precious currency of life, consumed with a longing to be someplace else, doing something else? Or we waste present moments feeling guilty about the past or apprehensive about the future. Slipping away from the present happens because we are living our lives with an attitude of depreciation rather than appreciation. We can ease this dilemma by learning to pay attention to what’s going on in the inner world of our thoughts.
A great hallmark of mental wellness is the ability to be in the present moment, fully and with no thoughts of being elsewhere. Henry David Thoreau said: “He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.” I would add, “In anticipating the future as well.” There definitely is a past, but not now. And there definitely is a future, but not now.
Our present moment is a mystery that we are part of. Here and now is where all the wonder of life lies hidden. And make no mistake about it, Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading