How Important is Your Now?
How much value and time do you place on your NOW? I say “your” to reinforce the notion of possession. Are you someone who treasures this moment, the one you are living right now? Or is the present a mere obstacle to a glorious future, that goody that was promised but always seems to be just around the corner and out of reach?
To the Future and Beyond
One of my favorite TV shows as a child was Time Tunnel, a story of two explorers who became trapped in time while testing their invention. The secret project, Tic-Toc, propelled the travelers both to the past and future as they attempted to right the wrongs of history, all the while desperately seeking a way back home.
A reboot of this storyline became yet another one of my favorites as the 90s sitcom, Quantum Leap. In each episode, Sam Beckett leaped into the bodies of different historical characters, each time in a vain to get back home.
The theme of these shows and the myriad of similar ones in between was always the same. A compelling urge to be any place other than now, coupled with an all too late realization of what was truly valuable but sadly was now lost.
A gift resides in every moment. — Deepak Chopra
Here vs There
Can you relate to the trap of being “here” but desperately wanting to be “there?” I sure can as someone who has lived with an outlook that the present was a mere obstacle to the future.
Ouch, this blunder now hurts in retrospect, but most things do — as they should, if for no other reason than to grab our attention and assuage us to change. The thing about “change” that is important to note is that it all starts from here as expounded by Alan Watts. Whatever you seek begins from the place in which you are. Nothing starts from the past or the future.
Have you been caught making plans for the future? I can’t wait till I grow up. I can’t wait till the weekend. I can’t wait till my next vacation. And the granddaddy of them all, I can’t wait till I retire. Always waiting and never living is a prescription for guaranteed frustration.
Making plans for the future is only of use to those who are capable of living completely in the present. — Alan Watts
Dreaming of a future is not a bad practice. However, when such dreams obfuscate your present reality, pain and unhappiness abound. As Alan Watts points out, “What is the purpose of dreaming of a future if when it arrives, you will not be present to witness it?” This blindness is the reason that many of us are always chasing a point in time which appears never to materialize.
Do You Really Want the Future?
OK, so I have failed in my plea, and you insist that only the future holds value. Let’s go all the way then. Would you accept your fate if you knew everything that would unfold? After all, you can travel to the future, right? Could you embrace all the joy and happiness as well as all the pain and sadness from those whom you would have loved and lost along the way?
What would be left to accomplish when the struggle to get there (i.e., the future) was no more? I believe that to accept this scenario, one would have to be wholly engaged in the present because nothing else would genuinely matter.
My friend, this awareness is the “Power of Now” to borrow the title from Eckhart Tolle’s book. Dive a little deeper into this thought experiment, and you will soon realize that regardless of the time you travel to, past or future, you will always end up at now, facing whatever difficulties the moment presented.
When you are no longer chasing “there,” all that is left to do is enjoy “here.”
When you consider that what happens now creates the past as well as the future, the value of now becomes paramount. Your past, those memories that have you trapped, is formed from this moment. It all starts from here. We often look at the action we take, desirable or otherwise, with an eye on how it colors our future. But it also does something more significant, which is to shed our past as a ship sheds a wake.
Does your now create your past or does your past create your now?
What happens now creates the past, but sadly for many of us (yes me included), the reverse is true. Many of us exist (not live) with the belief that our past is an indicator of our present reality. Every limiting belief that follows the phrase “I can’t” is often a reflection of our past. Can you see how backward we walk through life with our past leading the way rather than trailing in the wake?
So, the next time you feel an urge to get “there” and find yourself consumed with the question “What time is it?” just remember the answer is NOW! It always has and always will be NOW! The more important question becomes, “Are you here with it?”