Being in the moment, being present, the power of now …
I get mindfulness. It’s all about being alive and awake right now. Many of the great sages tell us it’s the only way to live.
But if today is all I have, what stops me from spending the rent money? If there is no tomorrow, why would I brush my teeth, clean the bathroom or finish that assignment?
And then there are my dreams. I think about what it would be like to have my book published and become a best-seller. I imagine a future where Duckfish’s kids are grown and have babies of their own. I plan our next holiday …
Which reminds me of the holidays we’ve already taken. I remember the touch of cool sheets in a hotel room, the sound of the ocean from a tree top house, and the smell of breakfast at the top of a mountain. Wonderful, comforting, love-infused memories. The past brings me so much joy … am I to forget about it as well?
Past, present and future. Am I supposed to give up my memories and my dreams so I can live just in this moment?
I don’t believe mindfulness is sacrificing the past and the future. I believe mindfulness is part of the holy trinity of privilege, purpose and presence.
The past is an important companion to mindfulness because it reminds us to give thanks. We are privileged to have had the experiences in our lives that have brought the people we love to us, and to remind us of the fragility of being human. Our pleasure and pain have both been our teachers. And like Mrs Simpson in primary school who introduced me to the Chronicles of Narnia, I remember my teachers with gratitude. In the present moment, we remember the privilege it is to learn and grow from our past.
Our dreams drive our choices. Life isn’t lived in an instant — it grows slowly like a small seed developing into a tree. When we long for more love, more connection, more peace and joy in our lives, we make choices that bring our dreams closer. Saving up for workshop, practising meditation or moving to keep our muscles strong and supple is an investment in our future happiness. When we dare to dream, we make this present moment have purpose and meaning.
Right here, right now, everything is as it should be. Every morning is a new beginning, every hour a fresh start. To live in the present is to squeeze every drop out of life. When we seize each and every moment like it was our last we don’t wish away the hours or count the days until something better comes along. We immerse ourselves in the entire stage show of our existence, bringing up the lights to see, hear, smell, touch and taste every single experience.
Presence needs Privilege and Purpose
This present moment needs the past. It reminds us to never take anything for granted. It whispers that nothing lasts forever – neither the good nor the bad. The past is the firm earth our roots dig into to feel grounded and stable.
This present moment needs the future. It compels us to work towards our dreams and gives us purpose. It is exciting to choose a direction that could lead to a world even brighter and more loving than the one we have now. Potential and possibility are the branches of the tree that reach heavenward to the sun and the infinite sky.
Mindfulness is the three Ps
Now I live in the moment with my memories and my dreams. I don’t dwell in the past or get lost in the future, I feel them beneath my feet and above my head urging me to expand into this moment with all that I have.
→ Have you struggled with being in the moment? How do you view the past and the future?