Living in the present moment transcends all attachments to the past and the future. Living in the present moment allows you to respond to each and every moment as it presents. It cuts the ties to our emotional baggage that we carry with us from traumas and unpleasant experiences from the past. It cuts the ties to the fears and anxiety we hold about the future.
Time is a dimension we experience on Earth as a linear process. However in and of itself time does not exist. Everything that can happen, did happen, has happened now, in this very present moment. If you actually really think about it the only moment we can actually truly prove exists is now. Yesterday is only a collection of memories, tomorrow we cannot guarantee will come. To dwell and live in the fast or future actually makes us miss the very essence of life.
An animal lives purely in the present moment. Take two ducks for example, they have a fight, and as they turn and swim away from each other, they shake, they shake off this excess energy they have built up in their body from the confrontation, and then they swim on, back into the presence of the moment.
We as humans have a much more difficult time releasing this excess energy, instead we dwell, our mind circles with thoughts, our emotions stir. If we do not have a way of releasing and transcending what happened, then the experience becomes an unresolved emotion we store within. So that next time we are in an experience that resembles that of which we have not resolved within our self, we become reactive. We react to the situation with our past emotional baggage and so it continues. This reactive pattern shows that we have lost our ability to stay present and act with our sovereignty. We are no longer able to respond to life as it presents.
Buddha’s main teaching is that attachment is the root cause of all suffering. This may be attachment to certain outcomes, an image, a state of mind, material possessions etc. There is little we can guarantee in life, but one thing that we can guarantee is change. So you see the fallacy in attaching ourselves to things? Everything will change. This need to control the external in order for the internal to be satisfied is setting us up for disaster. Now I do need to make sure I distinguish between attachment and preferences. It is ok to have preferences in life – actually it is at our very core to creatively and uniquely express ourselves. Acknowledging our preferences is actually fundamental to our whole existence. However there is a huge difference between recognising that we prefer something and attaching onto something. Attachment comes about when we hold on to something because it gives us identity or self worth. We define ourselves through this thing, and when this thing changes, and it is will, we suffer. To prefer something on the other hand, is if we have the thing we prefer then great, and if we don’t, then great also! As we are already complete as we are, there is nothing to lose, only to gain an alternative experience. Attachment means we are not in the present moment.
Main purpose of the ego
The main purpose of the ego is to create direction. It allows us to set our internal compass in a certain direction based on our preferences for different life experience. What the ego is not designed to do is to work out all the details of how we are going to get to the place we want. This is left to our higher self, and is navigated through our intuition and gut feeling. Through this work it may seem like it’s the long way round or we are veering off track but in reality we are picking up the exact life experiences, aspects of ourselves that got left behind, tools and skills necessary to achieve the goal we have set.
When left to the ego, control, push, attachment, fear and self-sabotaging can often outplay stifling our ability to get to the place we want. And if we do get to the place we want, which of course can be achieved this way, there will be a cost in terms of stress and degradation of our life energy. The alternative pathway is to set the intention of our goal, and then come back to the present moment and trust that the universe is conspiring to serve us. All we have to do is ask ourselves in the present moment ‘what is the most enjoyable thing I can do in this moment’ and go do it!
Let your passion in the present moment navigate you to exactly where you need to go. It may seem like you are ‘wasting time’ when your body wants to rest and restore when you have things to do. Take for example, your body says to rest but instead you push it to work. Your work will be inefficient as part of your being is not willing to step up. If you rest when your body says to rest and the moment your body says ‘yes lets do this’ you will be amazed at how much you can achieve in this space. It may take you only an hour to achieve what you would have otherwise achieved in a whole day when you weren’t in the ‘mood’. So in fact you will achieve more and gain time! When we navigate from the present moment, life flows, doorways open in divine timing, and the universe always delivers.
Contemplate the following story. There was a man who owned a horse. One day the horse ran away. His neighbours came over and said, oh that’s such bad news that you lost your horse. The man shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘maybe’. The following day the horse returned, but he came with a whole herd of horses. His neighbours came over and said, oh what great turn of events that now you have many horses! The man shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘maybe’. The following day his son came over and tried to break in one of the horses. The son was thrown from the horse and broke his leg. Again the man’s neighbours came over and said, I am so sorry to hear the bad news about your son, how unfortunate. Again the man shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘maybe’. The following day, the military came by to recruit soldiers for the army. Because his son had broken his leg he was not required to serve. And so the story goes on…
It is only the ego that judges a situation as good or bad, whether we celebrate or we suffer. Transcending our judgement around all life experiences will free us up to participate in the flow of life with more presence and acceptance. Our mind cannot always comprehend and analyse in a logical way why situations are presenting and how they are conspiring to serve us. Because it does not have this capacity to understand we may as well release our grip in trying to control our life. If we transcend our judgement we can transcend our suffering and come more into the present moment. All in life is conspiring to help us to awaken and become more conscious and fully present.
There is no rush to the end. No need to put our life off now and work hard so that we can relax later. This is a fallacy. If you cannot be present, in flow and content with life now, I guarantee you, you will not be this in the future, regardless of what you ‘have’. Living life in the present means transcending attachment and judgment and releasing control. In the presence the peace you are looking for is waiting to be found.