The answer to almost everything is staying in the moment.
But it’s amazing how little we humans are able to do that. Our mind wanders to things in the past that we are upset about, feel shame or guilt about, feel fear about, etc. etc. And it wanders to upcoming events and situations that we have anxiety about, or anger about, or grief about, etc. etc.
And truth be told, it is this wandering into the morass of fears, sadness, and worry about things that aren’t happening NOW that creates a very depressed and anxious quality of life.
Trust me, I know.
As someone who feels safe the more I feel in control of things, worry can be a regular visitor. I’ve often had this mistaken “feeling” that worrying about things means I am somehow controlling them, or preparing for them, or otherwise involved in those future events… rather than – God forbid (!) — letting them just “float out there,” unattended.
And when I perseverate about the past, it’s usually also an effort to control. What could I have done differently? What should have happened instead of what did happen? And what do I have to do now to “fix” whatever happened that I’m not pleased about…?
All of this makes for a very unhappy quality of life where I am a victim to the wandering obsessions of my mind.
But 99.9% of the time, “in this moment” we happen to be OK. In fact, as you are reading this very article, you are alive, safe, connecting with another person (me), and able to enjoy this moment if you choose.
While you are reading it doesn’t matter what kind of money you have in the bank, does it? In this very moment, your bank account could be filled with over a million, or barely enough to get by – but in this exact moment, neither situation is relevant. In this very moment, it is not actually affecting you.
(I use that example because financial insecurity is such a huge fear in our society for so many).
My point is – and thanks to Ekhart Tolle for so brazenly bringing this concept forward in his NY Times bestseller The Power Of Now – that we have so much about life we can enjoy if we stay focused on what is happening right now – in the present.
In fact, to practice what I preach, I’m focused on how it feels to be writing this article – to be sharing about this point that has changed my life so greatly (when I remember to apply it!).
And it feels very gratifying. I feel close to every single one of you who might read this article – you are kindred spirits “traveling the road” of personal and spiritual growth – and that also warms my heart and feels very rewarding.
So when you find yourself ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, remind yourself of this mantra that a mentor gave me years ago: Be Here Now.