Throughout my life I’ve heard people talk or write about “Living in the Now”. During most of my adult life I would have told you it sounded great, felt philosophical, maybe a bit idealistic and was reserved for people who weren’t so “busy”. I put roughly the same amount of mental thought into pondering the cliche “Stop and Smell the Roses”. For certain, both of these “warm fuzzies” have been embossed onto inspirational greeting cards, written about in books, discussed in movies, in church services and philosophized by thousands of people throughout the years. “Yep”, I would agree…..”we should all really stop to do this once in awhile”….but life is just so busy! When someone told me to live in the moment or stop and smell the roses I would think, “maybe after finals are over” or ” when work slows down”….or “when the baby starts sleeping at night”….or “maybe when the kids are in school”….. then came “maybe when by business slows down” or “maybe in the summer”. Then, as my parents started their slow, heartbreaking decline this concept started to hit home. I would drive 19 hrs to visit them, 5-6 times per year for 8 years and just sit with my Dad for hours, waiting for those glimpses of lucidity when he would make loving eye contact with me like he used to when we could have congruent conversations together. Same with my mother – just being there without anything in particular to “do”…..just being present. Tears came to my eyes every time as I wondered, “where did all those precious moments go?”.
When I attended the Master Key Live Event in Kauai this summer, Mark J did a powerful segment on Attachment. His passionate appeal was designed to help us come to the realization that NOW is all there is. It’s all there ever has been and all there ever will be. The very moment in which we stand right NOW is the only reality that exists. Every past experience in our lives happened when it was NOW. Every future moment we’re given will occur when it is NOW. We spend so much of our lives anticipating some future moment when circumstances will change – one that’s somehow better than this moment for taking action…or calling that friend….or getting to the gym….or playing with our kids or a beloved pet….or noticing the breathtaking beauty that nature demonstrates every day (regardless of where you live). I learned that what prevents people from living in the NOW, completely present, full of wonder and gratitude, wide awake senses and a burning desire to take action…..is ATTACHMENT. Attachment to the past. Attachment to the future.
Our attachment to the past keeps our brains engaged in fast thinking. We make quick decisions without careful thought and deliberate consideration…..and our decisions are typically rooted in associative memory. Depending on our past experiences and programming, it keeps us from paying attention, from opening our minds, from taking action, taking risks, embracing opportunities, feeling our feelings, being grateful and being fully present with the people in our midst. Our attachment to the future – some “perfect moment” when everything is better….or slower….or something…… also keeps us from being present right here, right NOW. We’re so eager to get to a different moment that we perceive as better or more important that we don’t tune into what’s happening NOW. Simply put – we miss things. A lot of things. And we become numb to the wonder around us.
This wonderful short video illustrates this beautifully:
I have learned that living in the NOW – noticing nature NOW – loving everyone right NOW – taking action NOW – with a pure, grateful heart is the key to my happiness, my progress, my success. If you’re like I was, you may be thinking, “how in the world do you train your mind to always live in the NOW? How do you get to this place of awareness?”
Simple – The Law of Practice….and some patience. Persistent Practice Produces Perfect Presentations (to the subconscious mind). There’s a reason this is one of the 7 Laws of the Mind….it’s important. I have been practicing living right NOW with gratitude every day since this whole concept hit me so squarely between the eyes in Kauai. Through daily (hourly, momentary) practice I am getting much better. I tune into precious moments and notice so many new things happening around me. I’m working hard on mastering the art of becoming a keen observer, on detaching from my past (that NOW is over) and detaching from my future (that NOW will unfold, as I continue to develop my vision, purpose and faith. And suddenly, I’m seeing beauty and magnificence in things I never noticed before. Every day.
To quote one of my new favorite authors (Mark J):
“I am grateful that I am, day-by-day, minute-by-minute more and more aware of the infinite bounty surrounding me. Each passing moment I become more humbled by the unmerited gifts and opportunities continuously cascading into my life. Any shame my mind begins to experience for the self-centeredness I previously lived with and self-pity that blinded me from seeing the real riches of life I’ve always been blessed with is quickly extinguished by a great truth. Now. Now is all there is. Now is all there ever was and now is all there ever will be.” –Standing Tall
Thank you, my friend.