“It’s not that “today is the first day of the rest of my life,” but that now is all there is of my life.” ~ Hugh Prather …
It can be easy to get caught up in the perpetual game of telling ourselves over and over that “today is the day I am going to change my life and become a better person.” In those rare cases in which we do just that, it is wonderful, but more often than not, we fallback into our old habits. Hugh, however, is offering us something that is much more pressing and powerful than the hope for change–he is reminding us that right now is the only time we have in our lives that is guaranteed… and that is real motivation.
Personally, I do not have any problem with the concept, but I can see Hugh’s point quite clearly–the more we stay focused on what we are going to do with the rest of our lives, the less we allow ourselves to commit to living the present moment for all that it is worth. In truth, Hugh is right, “Now is all there is of my life.” My next moment, ten minutes from now, even two weeks from now–none of these are guaranteed. And what happens a month from today is virtually out of my control. What is going to happen will happen, and I may be able to influence it, but I certainly cannot control it.
Life is simply a series of “nows.” And the present moment, lived fully with enthusiasm, love, attention, and awareness, truly is all there is of our lives. Once it is done, it will be replaced by another, and on and on. And how we live them depends on us. Of course, it is important that we plan and prepare for the future–finances, health, retirement, and so forth–yet even that is accomplished through present moments.
Stay focused on the present moment. Right now, you have the entire world full of possibilities at your disposal. If you decide that you want to travel around the world, you have the potential to do so, if you spend your nows preparing for it and raising the money for it. If you want a stronger relationship, then you can spend your nows improving that relationship. If you want a better job, you can spend your nows learning more about your work and improving your performance. But please, do not waste the present moment by putting your focus on some future moment that may or may not get here.
Be receptive to the potential and opportunity available to you in each of the moments of your day.
Questions to consider:
What resources are available to you right here, right now?
How might you improve your experience of the now? How might you get more out of each present moment as it arrives?
Why do so few people keep their minds, their hearts, and their attention on right now?
For further thought:
“Many people live as if life were a dress rehearsal for some later date. It isn’t. In fact, no one has a guarantee that he or she will be here tomorrow. Now is the only time we have, and the only time that we have any control over. When our attention is in the present moment, we push fear from our minds… Practice keeping your attention on the here and now. Your efforts will pay great dividends.” ~ Richard Carlson