If you are a follower of Oprah Winfrey or Eckhart Tolle you must have heard about the worldwide phenomenon of their joint webinar series based on his book A New Earth. Millions of people around the globe have tuned in to watch this modern day mystic deliver his simple message–there is no time but the present. If you are remembering the past, you are thinking about it in the present. If you are projecting into the future, you are doing it in the present. So any time you are in past or future thoughts, you’re really here right now.
What that means is that if you stay conscious and remember you are in the present time, you have the choice as to how you want your present moment to be. So if the past was painful and you are feeling some of that pain now, you can make a conscious choice to live pain free now. Or if you are worrying about some possibility of doom in the future, you can make a conscious choice to be worry-free now, because the future is only a thought right now. Time spent worrying is wasted time anyway, because no one can accurately predict the future. And when you worry, you are setting negative goals. If you catch yourself, you can turn your worry around and start setting positive goals.
Of course, you may be remembering great experiences of the past and those can enrich your life. You just don’t want to live in the past because you’re not happy with your present life. And if you’re dreaming of exciting events to come in the future, it’s great to have something to look forward to. You just don’t want to live for the future, especially since there’s no guarantee of what will come, because you’re unhappy with your current life situation.
If you let your mind drift to the past and the future, you’re not living in the present. You are missing out on living fully in the present moments that can never be re-captured. You miss out on the beauty all around you. You are not focused on the activity you are engaged in. You’re not tuned in to the person talking to you. You are not making the most of the gifts of life.
If you find you are living less in the present than you would like, here are some things you can do:
1. Sit quietly and experience your five senses. Nothing brings us back to the present than our physical bodies. When you smell, taste, hear, touch, and feel tangible experiences, you can only be in the present moment. Revel in your senses and enjoy each experience.
2. Check in with your feelings. When you stop and ask yourself how you are feeling about something, you are in present time. Most of us keep our feelings in check and rarely tune in to them regularly. If you stop several times a day and ask, “How am I feeling right now?” you will be brought back to the present.
3. Stop doing and start being. Spend five to 30 minutes a day just being. After all, we are human beings not human doings, right? It’s a real challenge for most people to do nothing for extended periods of time, but it’s a real in-the-moment experience.
4. Breathe slowly and deeply. This will always bring you back to present time as it quiets your wandering mind and active body.