Living in The Present Moment
‘Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water, the miracle is to
walk on the green earth in the present moment.’ (Thich Nhat Hanh)
To a certain degree, the measure of our peace of mind and our attitude to life is very much determined by how we live in the present moment. Irrespective of what happened to us yesterday, last year or in our childhood, the present moment is right bang where we are today!
This is not an easy concept to put into practice because more often than not, it feels like everything we do or have become is a result of past experiences, good and bad, and memories can come flooding back at the least unexpected moment.
Everything about us – our perceived faults, failings, fears, beahaviours and self-imposed barriers – were formed as we were growing up.
It is unbelievable just how much time we waste regretting the past or worrying about the future. These are the two main pitfalls that keep us from living truly in the moment. Unfortunately, they are so much part of our everyday lives that we do not realize the tremendous damage they cause us if not addressed.
Irish priest and author, Daniel O’Leary, said that the trick to living in the present moment is to be aware of what is just below the surface of our lives, to come home to ourselves. He says that God and joy do not have to be searched out and found. They are already here!
For those of us who travel through life in this way, unable to shake off the ghosts of our past, one of the best strategies is to let go, with help if necessary, of the ‘excess baggage’ we are carrying. Sadly, it is this factor that often prevents us from focusing fully on our life’s journey.
On the flip side of the coin there are those of us who put our goals, hopes, priorities and happiness on hold, often kidding ourselves that ‘someday’ will be the right time.
However, as experience too often reveals, that elusive ‘someday’ never arrives. As John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Many people live as if life is just a dress rehearsal for some big event of the future. But it is not. Without wanting to sound pessimistic, none of us can guarantee we will be here tomorrow.
So, the present moment is the only time we have! It is not easy for us to focus on the present when our minds are anxious about what lies ahead.
We tend to live our lives on a moving line between the past and present. That line is our lifeline. Perhaps because of what may have happened to us in the past, we become future-oriented dreamers.
We long for the day when our worries, fears, and pain will be over. We hang in there waiting impatiently for a new tomorrow.
Staying in the present moment, however, is not just about forgetting the past and accepting whatever is to come. We need to remember that each second is a new and unique moment of the universe – a moment that never was before and will never happen again.
Our lives are composed of temporal moments, many of which are more important to us than others. And despite these moments not lasting forever, does not detract from their meaningfulness. No matter what our world situation is at the moment, or how much longer it will last, what we can do is to strive to make each moment more meaningful.
And that’s what is important to me in my life. Continuing to be aware and grateful for such blessings as seeing a beautiful sunset; feeling the first whisper of spring; noticing how bright the stars are, and my grandchildren’s’ sweet smiles. All these things bring much healing and peace to my soul.
So, no matter what the day may bring us – be it moments of pain or moments of joy, it may help us to reflect on these beautiful words: ‘If God brings it to you, he will see you through it. In happy moments, praise God. In difficult moments, seek God. And in every moment, thank God’.