« Life is now ». It is the simplest and truest quote I’ve ever read. 80% of our thoughts are repetitive and useless. Most of the time, our mind either dwells on the past or worries about the future. Who never finished reading a page to realize that she could not remember the last few lines or asked a friend to repeat the end of her story because we were lost in our thoughts?
As we constantly focus on our past or the future, we forget the present. Yet, “life is now », says renowned writer Eckhart Tollé in his book The power of now – which I strongly recommend.
The past no longer exists, there is nothing we can do to change it and the future does not yet exist. We often worry about things that will eventually never even happen. The only thing that truly exists is the present moment, here and now – not in 10 minutes or earlier today, but now.
The ego confines us in time and most of our sufferings come from our attachment to the past and future. All negative emotions are related to time. Regret, remorse and guilt, for example, only exists in relation to the past. On the contrary, anxiety, fear and stress are made possible because we anticipate the future. If you bring your mind to the present moment, what are your sufferings? Most of the time, none.
Focusing on the present moment frees us from our suffering, it is the only way to live fully and make the most of life. But how do you stay focused on the present moment? We are usually enslaved to our mind which enjoys playing difficult memories and foreseeing the worst future scenarios.
Just like you would train you body to “master” it, by making it stronger and more flexible, we must train the mind. Train it to be in the now and bring it back to the present moment when it wanders away. This is what we call meditation or mindfulness. Meditation is about focusing the mind on the present moment, by observing the breath, for example, and bringing it back to here and now when it deviates.
The power of now is a gem which opens a new reflection about our relationship to time and life. I strongly recommend that you read it.
Photo credit: Ian Stauffer