‘Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance,’ – Eckhart Tolle
Time is an illusion. There I said it! It is manmade and would not even exist as a concept weren’t it for the human race. Not only did we perpetuate the myth of time, we sectioned it into years, months, weeks and days. Have you noticed animals and nature do not operate by a clock nor do they feel restricted by the mythological constraints of time?
Now I’m not saying we should discard time altogether…It’s here now and therefore we should strive to make positive use of it.
It is important to be on time to a meeting or job interview. It is necessary to remember dates and anniversaries so you can show your loved ones you care. It is essential to plan for certain things in the future and it is always nice to celebrate special occasions like Christmas, Easter and New Year’s but when the illusion of time begins to affect us mentally and emotionally…that’s when it’s time to press pause…
Take a Deep Breath…
Look Around You…
Are You Here Now?
I know you would say ‘of course I’m here now’ so let me rephrase the question. Is your mind here now? Physically your body is but are your thoughts? Were you thinking of what you should’ve said to that difficult person a week ago or what you need to get done this weekend?
I’m currently reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and each word, sentence and chapter is resonating powerfully. He stresses over and over that the past and future are absolutely non-existent and that all we have is the very here and now. So many of us are not mentally present. We have moments but before long we are right back to reminiscing or predicting; usually doing so with a negative mindset.
This passage from the Power of Now sums it up perfectly:
“The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction – you don’t look to it for salvation. Therefore, you are not attached to the results.”
As I mentioned earlier, whilst it is important to plan for certain things, a lot of the time events never unfold as you thought they would and this can lead to disappointment. If everybody lived for today, anxiety and depression would be greatly reduced. We would no longer be holding onto something that hurt us in the past. We would no longer feel stressed about an event that hasn’t even occurred yet. We would just be…
I will give you a personal, prime example… I am about to enter the busiest two months of my life. Not only do I start a new job next week, there are only two months left of my Yoga Teacher Training Course before my exam and then hopefully I will be fully qualified. At the end of the exam and two months of unfamiliar work, there is a shiny, exciting overseas holiday waiting for me. Can you guess where I’ve focused my attention at the moment?
Not that long ago, I wanted nothing more than to press fast forward, skip past these two months that I know will be intense and not press play until I was exploring the lush surroundings of Vietnam and Cambodia. All I could think about was the exam I haven’t had yet, the job I haven’t started yet and I even prophesised myself stressing like crazy!
The Power of Now came at the perfect…yes time! The message intervened at the opportune moment and told me to pause. It told me to breathe. It reminded me that today is all I have and that is exactly where my attention needs to be. Suddenly, I felt a weight drop off my shoulders. I wanted to be here and now. I wanted to experience every moment of my training and my new job. The holiday will be there whether I choose to anticipate or not so I might as well enjoy and live every day to the fullest, soaking up each experience. In many parts of the world, unfortunate beings suffer and literally live one day to the next not knowing if it will be their last. It seemed selfish of me to want to speed up my days because of this. There is beauty and stillness when the mind and body align in the present moment. Living for today will do wonders for our mental and physical health.
Think of the things that keep you present. The other night, I had my monthly remedial massage and whilst I was enjoying it immensely, my mind raced as I began planning the next day. The minute she began to massage my scalp, I was 100% present! This has always been my favourite part of a massage and I so desperately didn’t want it to end that I noticed my mind became clear and relaxed. Without judgement, I realised this pleasant, relaxing feeling was my mind free from time. As the massage ended, my mind resumed its incessant chattering but I had already glimpsed what it felt to be timeless and I wanted more.
Nothing keeps us more present than being on a holiday. When we are somewhere else, we rarely think about what is happening back home or what we need to do when we return. We savour every day and want it to never end. Why can’t we do that all the time? It can be done…all it takes is awareness and patience. In the Southern Hemisphere, June is the start of our winter and for so many of us, we experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. We want nothing more than to speed past the next 3 months and feel the sunshine on our backs again. I have always struggled with winter and especially hate the feeling of being cold more than any other sensation. From now on, keeping in time with Eckhart’s teachings, I would like to experience every moment it brings and settle into the wonder of this particular season. I want to feel the cold, the rain, the gloom and just smile.
I realise how difficult it is to stay present but today really is all we will ever have. We will never be able to predict the future and why would we want to? The unknown may be scary but it is also very exciting and keeps us adventurous. The past is gone and cannot be changed. Don’t dwell, just reflect and learn from it. Use your five senses to keep you here. What can you see right now? What can you smell? What can you touch? What can you hear and what can you taste? Transcend time itself and become timeless. There is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than just being…
If you are still struggling to stay present, I highly recommend reading The Power of Now. It will change your life.
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