Living In The Now

[note: I wrote this while attempting to eek out the last few embers of wood of our fire in Taos after our first full day there. (hence the fire metaphor) But I held off on doing the final edit and posting it because I had already posted a bunch that evening. Then the draft eventually got buried. Luckily, it isn’t time specific, so I hope you enjoy it.]

It’s hard to not get excited about future plans or to ponder over our past. In fact, we spend more of our day thinking about what will be or what was than we do thinking about what just is. However it’s important that we do our best to stay grounded in the present moment as best we can… Now is where we exist after all. Allow me to explain…

For all the energy we tend to put into carefully crafting, (in our minds at least), all of the things that we want to do, they never do turn out exactly as we had originally planned them. There are just too many variables and external dependencies involved with most things, even the seemingly simple ones. The future, in essence, is not perfectible and as a Virgo, I especially have to struggle with that fact.

Yet, we are also wooed by the very opposite of the future and all too comfortably sink into thinking about the past. The thing is, the past is there for a reason; it’s over with, so it’s time to let go.

Sure, you could think back to what you should have said to that rude person you met yesterday.  Or you could think back to how it would have been better if you had taken that left turn onto the bypass instead of going straight and hitting all of the red lights and traffic that ended up making you late for that client meeting last week. But is thinking about these things, and others like them, going to change what happened? Of course not. Better still; What can you do now to change what happened?. That’s right, Nothing. Because the best you can do now is something to mitigate the impact of what has already occurred, but you can never change the actual occurrence itself.

Once you realize that stewing over whatever it is that you’re stewing over isn’t changing anything other than your blood pressure and that there’s nothing else you can do, you’ll see how fruitlessness it is to continue spending any of your precious remaining time on this earth back there instead of here, in the present, where you can actually change things to your liking.

As compelling as those reasons are for us to focus on the now, no philosophical argument is truly complete without some form of metaphor…

It’s not too far removed from tending a fire. We can spend hours, gathering, preparing and stacking the wood just so, and we might even pull off starting it with only one match. But it will never be a perfect fire from match, to ember, to ash. Because regardless of how much we try to orchestrate it before hand, there will always be some adjustments that need to be made. At the same time, the wood that has burned off and now lays on the bottom as ash no longer has any bearing to what the fire is, which are the flames that are burning now. And no matter how much we might poke at it, that ash will never again burst forth into flame and all that we’ll end up with for all of our efforts is a smudged poker.

Of course none of this is to say that I don’t think that we should ever plan ahead or give remembrance, but I believe that it should always be done mindfully, with one foot planted firmly in the present to keep us from wandering off aimlessly and getting lost. For if we spend all our time living in either the future or the past, we aren’t living in the now and if you think about it, now is the only place we can actually live; because like a fire, all that we are is the energy that is being burned/emitted/transformed in this very moment.



~ by ghendar on February 3, 2009.