The real benefits of living in the present moment boils down to happiness. As long as you are chasing ‘some future’ that you believe will ‘make you’ happy, you will experience unhappiness to some extent.
Are you truly living in the present moment? Do you enjoy every part of your life or are you always chasing the next illusive thing that you think will make you happy?
Most people in our culture today are so busy running around trying to arrange their lives to be somewhere else.
If you are depressed you are living in the past– Unknown (often wrongfully accredited to Lao Tzu)
If you are anxious you are living in the future
If you are at peace you are living in the present
We all want to be ‘somewhere else’ – not geographically, but financially or in our relationships or our health or a million other things. Anywhere but here seems to be the unconscious goal.
We want to be anywhere but here as we’ve been led to believe that if only we can be somewhere else then our lives would be great.
This escapism acts like a drug that only gives temporary relief to a chronic problem.
Apart from wanting to be somewhere else, most people today also live by a philosophy of “some day” that allows them to manipulate time. “I can do it, but just not today. I’ll do it when…” and they use these excuses to stay in their comfort zones.
The problem is that both someday and somewhere are undefined and illusionary. Somewhere does not exist and someday never comes, although you keep hoping that it does.
The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future, which, of course, can only be experienced as the Now.– Eckhart Tolle
This can be very disempowering and is responsible for a lot of disappointment and frustration for a lot of people.
The truth, however, is that right now is all you’ve really got. Tomorrow is never promised to you and learning to fully live in and for this moment is a vital distinction to make in creating a great life.
When you are fully present in this moment now, you can not help but feel grateful.
What Does It Mean To Be Present and To Be In The Present Moment?
We hear this a lot in modern culture and its become a bit of a cliche. So what does it mean to be present?
It simply means that you clear your mind from everything that you have done or should do and bring your attention into the present moment.
Notice where you are, what’s around you and where your mind is. If your mind starts drifting to the future or the past, notice it and bring attention back to the present moment.
The trouble is, you think you have time.– Buddha
Being the present is also not just about your mind dwelling on the future or the past. It is also with your mind dwelling on other people and other places and events.
Your power is in the present moment because that is all you have. The past is finished and you can never change it. The future is promised to no one.
Be here now. Your power is in the present moment.
Its been said that wherever you are, be there. This is a great philosophy to live by. Do not allow your life to pass by without you being present.
Becoming aware of your attention is a crucial first step. Your awareness is constantly drifting to where it is most demanded.
With so much coming at us from the outside world, our attention tends to be very scattered.
Worse still, most of our attention is defined by what HAS happened or what we fear WILL still happen.
This drags us away from the present moment and using all our energy here and now.
Living In The Present Moment With Gratitude
Gratitude is one of the most empowering emotions there is. Being grateful does not mean that you lose your drive or purpose, but allows you to slow down and really enjoy the ride.
You are the source and the creator of your own prosperity and it all starts with a sense of immense gratitude for everything you already have exactly where you are right now.
Not only is it healthy to want more from life, but it is also required to be truly fulfilled and knowing where you are is critical in getting where you want to be.
Using someday as an excuse to soften your problems will not create long term success and fulfilment. Be honest with yourself and stop making excuses only to make yourself feel better. A little pain can be very useful as it will at least move you to action.
There is always something you can do right now to turn your ideas into reality. There is always one small step you can take.
One of the most powerful resources you have is resourcefulness. This means that right now you have all that you need to achieve whatever you desire and that you have the ability to take action with exactly what you’ve got and exactly where you are.
You do not have to wait for “some day when” or “when I am…” before you take action on your dreams and goals.
The smallest idea acted upon can make all the difference as it immediately makes your idea real and smothers the ‘someday’ mentality because you used your will to consciously take charge.
Taking action from a place of gratitude rather from a place of “having to achieve” produces vastly different outcomes.
When you become present in the moment right here right now you focus all your scattered energy. You open your eyes and wake up to the miracles around you.
You become incredibly grateful for the gift of life and your opportunity to create your life. You do things because you feel compelled to do them and not because you think you have to do X, Y or Z to achieve some goal that will make you look good or satisfy others.
Creating Your Future by Living In The Present Moment
One of the great benefits of living in the present moment is that you can deliberately create your future in a much more powerful way.
It is important to realize that the purpose of pursuing a goal or a dream is not just in achieving it but even more so in the experience of achieving it.
You do not travel for the purpose of reaching a destination but for the purpose of travelling – for the whole experience and not just the fleeting experience of reaching the end.
Each day we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.– Buddha
People who are not living in the present moment live their entire lives only for some fleeting moment of reaching some destination or goal. They miss out on 99% of life which is the journey and the experience.
Whatever dream or goal you are pursuing you will probably spend more time in pursuit of it than actually achieving it and most goals are an anti climax when you actually achieve them anyway.
The process is where the true fulfilment comes from and the actual experience is what makes you become something instead of accumulating something.
If you can’t be happy and grateful without your goal then changes are that you won’t be happy and grateful with it.
Live in the present, but know where you are going. Be right here and celebrate and capture the magical moments of your life. Hold on to them as the treasures you get to take with you into your magnificent future. Life is not just lived in the moment but also created in the moment.
Now is the best time to design the next ten years of your life. Let your thoughts and knowledge serve you through action.
Action is what eventually determines your destiny. The law of attraction works but it will not kick the doors in to bring you what you want. You need to do your part and play your role.
Move confidently in the direction of your choosing and don’t get seduced by the popular belief that some day things will come your way or some day your luck will change.
One of the greatest privileges you have in life is that you can start right now with exactly what you’ve got to create anything you desire as the ultimate resources to life are within you.
Living in a place called somewhere really won’t serve you long term although it might feel good as a short term escape or excuse.
Having to constantly lie to yourself that you will act on your true desires some day when x, y or z is just right will only create an unnecessary burden.
When you turn your “some day” philosophy into a “same day” philosophy you can start to adopt the mindset where you take action on your ideas immediately with exactly what you’ve got and exactly where you are.
What someday and somewhere really comes down to is that you falsely admit to yourself that what you need is not available to you. This creates a belief that you are not in control of your life but that you are waiting for something else somewhere else before you can take charge.
Ironically, you will only get full access to your true resources when you take action exactly where you are with exactly what you’ve got, despite your excuses.
True happiness and gratitude never relies on external conditions but is purely determined by your evaluation of where you are now.
Now contains the seed of the rest of your life.
Plant it with joy and water it with gratitude and rejoice in your life for you are its creator.
Living In The Past Causes Depression?
Does living in the past cause depression? While there are no direct cause-effect connection between the two, the indirect connection is quite obvious.
It might be an oversimplification but if you are depressed you are living in the past. You may not be consciously aware of it but your mind is running an old program – a program that does not excite you about your future.
More than 90% of the thoughts you have today, will be the same as the thoughts you had yesterday.
It does not take much to see that if you felt depressed yesterday then you will probably feel depressed again today simply because of the way you think.
When your mind becomes conditioned to think old and familiar thoughts – even if they do not serve you, you will keep thinking them because they feel familiar.
Choosing new thought leads to new decisions which leads to new actions which leads to a new sense of meaning.
Living in the present moment allows you to utilize the power of now. When you are truly present you can consciously choose your thoughts. You can use your mind to build a compelling future and stop living in the past.
How To Stop Living In The Past
Learning how to stop living in the past is like learning a new skill. You need to embrace the unfamiliar and get over the hump of the initial uncomfortable feelings.
You can not stop living in the past if you are not fully present in the moment.
The reason why you are living in the past and re-running the same mental and emotional patterns as the day before (and the day before that and before that) is because it feels familiar.
Anything that feels familiar is something we know and feel comfortable with. Thinking something new and doing something new may feel uncomfortable and it is the unknown that keeps us locked up in a prison of our past.
Most of what we think and do are not deliberate creations but unconscious reactions.
The unconscious reactions are patterns of thinking, feeling and acting that run along very deep grooves in your mind and body’s neural network.
Another of the great benefits of living in the present moment is that you can actually make decisions – real decisions. You are not controlled by what has happened and you are not fearful of what might go wrong.
7 Tips for Living In The Present Moment
One of the real benefits of living in the present moment is that you truly live your life. There is a big difference between being alive and living.
If you are numbed by a life you hate, a job you hate or a partner you can’t stand then you are simply going through the motions.
Being truly alive and feeling that life is worth living – exciting, filled with joy and something that really stirs your soul.
To really enjoy the benefits of living in the present moment you do not need to become a yogi or a monk. Here are 7 simple ideas to help you become more present.
Being grateful for everything you have draws you into the present moment. It forces you to look at your life right now and realize what is great already. Start a gratitude journal. The daily ritual of doing this will start to shift your thoughts.
2. Do one thing different every day
Most people live the same day every day for 30 years. What you do is the result of how you think. By doing things differently you can actually start thinking differently. This will jolt you out of your past and your past thinking.
3. Create a “bucket list”
Creating an exciting future is the best way to snap out of your past. When you set yourself a goal and build a vision of your future it starts to pull you forward. If your future vision is exciting enough it will literally pull you out of the thick mud of your past that is keeping you stuck.
4. Remove the chains of your past
What about your past is keeping you chained? Is it a person? Is it a job? Whatever it is, you will know exactly what it is. Deep down inside you will also know that you need to cut this off from your life. Don’t let the “security” of this familiarity keep you bound to your past
5. Use EFT
The emotional freedom technique or Tapping allows you to release conditioned emotions that you have attached to certain life experiences. If you have certain fears or beliefs that you just can’t seem to overcome then EFT can be incredibly helpful.
Mindfulness is a meditation practice where you become deeply conscious of the present moment. By focusing on your breathing and directing your awareness you can become in tune with what is happening around you NOW and you free yourself from the constraints and burdens of the past and the future.
7. See Beauty Everywhere
One of the great ways to become more present is to start looking for beauty everywhere. Most people go around looking for everything that is wrong in their lives and their environment. This is mostly habitual. The reality is that if you truly open your eyes and really look around you then you can start seeing beauty everywhere.