“Not living in the present is a form of denial. It’s easier to live in the past or future because then you don’t have to be responsible for the present.” ~ Jane Hendrix …
The difference between living in the past or future, and living in the present, is simply a matter of where our thoughts are. Are they on the things that are a part of my reality at this moment, or are they on the insults from yesterday or the wonderful vacation I have planned for next month? And while some thought to the things of the past or future can be important, too much time spent thinking about them can keep us from the joys and responsibilities of the here and now.
I know a few individuals who are always so stressed out and concerned about things in their future–health, finance, employment, vocation, family, and things of the sort–that their lives are constantly lived in the future. They miss out on the experiences that are happening all around them, the simple joys of the day that surround them. And I know others who spend months agonizing over past mistakes they have made, tormenting themselves about what others are thinking about them, convincing themselves that someone is feeling mad, disappointed, or let down by them. But such thoughts are simply a waste of time and energy. Most of the time, others have long forgotten our mistakes or did not even notice them to begin with. And more importantly, those thoughts deny us from living our lives to the fullest–inhibiting us from experiencing all the precious moments available to us in the here and now.
Now is the only moment we can possibly live in, and if we try to live anywhere else in time, we are merely remembering or hoping about moments in which we have absolutely no control. As Jane points out, living outside of the present moment is a form of denial. It is also a form of avoidance. My actions at this moment shape my future, and if I avoid acting, I can blame my future on forces outside of myself. But if I take responsibility for my own life and fill this present moment with a focus on what I need to do–giving, sharing, and showing love–then, moment by moment, I am building a life that truly contributes to this world in which I live.
Of course, it is always easier to focus on things of the past or in our future because it allows us to spend time without being compelled to act–it is impossible for us to act in either case. But there are others in the world who need us right now–our love and compassion, our strength and hope, our talents and abilities, and our positive action.
Be present in each moment today.
Questions to consider:
How many of your moments do you actually spend focused on the present moment? How many do you spend focused on the past or future?
Why is it so easy to avoid being focused on the present moment?
What are some downfalls to avoiding a focus on the present?
For further thought:
“There is only one time that is important–Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary person is the one with whom you are, for no person knows whether he or she will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is, to do the person good, because for that purpose alone were human beings sent into this life!” ~ Wayne Dyer, Excuses Begone!