Living in the Moment
Live not for tomorrow,
yearn not for the past,
live only for the moment,
it’s all that is ours.
These words should be obvious, but how many of us find it so difficult to focus our attention on the moment.
Perhaps as an attempt to abdicate personal responsibility we too often tend to fall into one of two traps. Either our attention is fixed upon the past, memories of how it was, and how it was so much better than now… Or we imagine that everything will be alright tomorrow. Only tomorrow never comes!
If we can look back at the past and identify happy times, that is great. Some can only remember sadness. Of course it does no harm at all to reminisce from time to time. But, for whatever reason we have been “spared” to exist in the present and so it is our implicit duty to make the most of that most precious of times – now.
Primarily the past exists to give us the benefit of experience. While it may be comfortable to reflect upon happy moments strolling in the sun with loved ones, actually the most valuable lessons come from more troubled times and it these we need to reflect on more in order to progress. Look upon the happy memories as the bear living off its fat during hibernation. They keep us warm, but cannot contribute to our future progress. And without our having made an effort in what was then the present, we would have no pleasant remembrances today. Look upon harder times as the challenges and opportunities of today. They serve to make us stronger, wiser, shrewder… in the now.
How many of us make plans that are eternally consigned to the tomorrow that never comes. We’re going to start our own business, drive round the country, travel round the world, take a PhD, etc etc etc. Trouble is when “tomorrow” gets here it’s really today, and of course there’s yet another tomorrow. Before we know it we’re old and gray and ready for the retirement home.
Our dreams for the future don’t magically come to fruition. If they are to be realized they must begin with conscious planning and effort – today. Don’t be afraid to ask your particular God for help with a prayer, but know also that God will not help those that don’t try their best to help themselves.
It’s very tempting to pass over responsibility for the now rather than actually accepting that responsibility to make the best of our particular life to the best of our ability. It may seem easier. But in fact it’s much harder to keep finding excuses in the past or future – I’m poor because blah blah blah…, tomorrow I’m going to this, that, the other…, than to actually start living in and for the moment.
If we want to do something the best time to do it is NOW. Of course there are practicalities like not having enough money. So the best time to start saving is now.
The present is exactly that, a precious present from God. The distractions of past and future, as well as the problems of the moment often make it hard to put our focus on the now. But it’s now, and only now, in which we exist. For all its challenges, and we all face plenty, now also offers enormous potential for experience and joy, if only we can realize it.
By living in the moment, each and every moment, we can have no regret whether or not we realize our dream.