Present MomentPosted: January 2, 2012
Nearly everyone has been busy making plans and resolutions lately. I think goals are fine but living in the future can be a pitfall. Times change. People change. Life changes. We might fall madly in love. We might have a health challenge. We might rethink our career. Someone will get pregnant. Someone will win the lottery. A life without surprises would be unreal.
I believe in setting goals. I also believe we can have a great deal of control over what happens to us in our private lives. But the wisest and most important thing I believe is – we must live one day at a time.
When I was younger, I daydreamed constantly and I was always trying to live in the future. I lived in a housing project and read Seventeen Magazine cover to cover; I yearned to go to college and wear pedal pushers while I hunted clams on the beaches of New England.
I did eventually move out of that housing project into the rarified air of the Eastern Establishment but I kept forgetting to enjoy the day. When I finally got to New York and Cape Cod, I was so busy pushing my career ambitions that I couldn’t taste the clams in the chowder. And pedal pushers had been out of style for thirty years.
My spiritual studies created many important blessings for me. The biggest blessing of all has been to bring me into the present tense. Before I got sober and started studying Science of Mind, I was almost never present. I spent much too much energy feeling regret for my past. I also spent way too much energy feeling restless and impatient about the future.
Learning to live in the present moment was absolutely like opening a door and walking into a new movie. I think of it as being exactly like the moment when Dorothy moves from sepia-colored Kansas into Technicolor OZ. My spiritual studies have kept me in the colorful present moment and that has been a great gift.
What about visioning? And goals? And ambition? These are all wonderful tools but they cannot be the payoff. The payoff is living in the here and now and loving every moment of it.
Daydreams are fine if they steer you in the right direction but if you forget to enjoy the journey, daydreams can be lethal. As for regretting the past – make what amends you can and move on. The past is gone forever.
This is such commonplace wisdom. We hear it all the time. How many times have you had someone tell you to stop and smell the roses or enjoy the sunset? Here’s the next question – when did you last stop and look at the sky? Or the shrubs around your house.
Want to take a test? Take a walk around your house or apartment and really look at the plant life. When you find yourself thinking about how you need to clean or prune, remind yourself this is a walking meditation. You are just looking. You can stop and smell if you want to, but you cannot turn this New Year’s walk into a chore.
If you can do a walking meditation in your own yard, you are in good shape to begin the new year. If you had trouble staying focused on the joy of growing greenery, then you might want to add a walking meditation into your New Year’s resolution to pay more attention to your spiritual practice.
Right now, take a deep breath, hug yourself and wish yourself a very happy, healthy, successful New Year. May all your dreams come true, one day at a time.
You deserve the best!
Do I need to spend more time in the present moment?
What can I do to encourage myself to be in the here and now?