Be Here Now. It sounds so simple, right?
It may seem like common sense or even overly simplistic statement, but it is very powerful truth that many of us do not practice at all.
In fact, many of us are trying to escape the present moment. We want to get to the future where our lives will be all that we have imagined or desired. Yet this future never comes, because when the future does come it does so as the present moment. In order to create the future, we desire, we must harness the power of now, the only true moment there is. To squander this moment is to throw away our future as well. Too often, we are taken out of the present moment. Our heads get cluttered with the mind chatter of yesterday, broken memories and anxieties and fears of what’s to come next; all the while we look past the beauty and simplicity of the present – this moment.
Now, take a look at your own life. What has the past taught you? What mistakes were turning points in your life? What lessons do you think you still have to learn?
Remember, the truth is that the past is only a memory that has been stored within our subconscious mind. The most important thing for us to realise is that the past has no control over our lives, except the control we allow it to have. Once we become aware of this fact and take full responsibility of our own lives we become the true creators of our future. The past may have made us, who we are today, but it’s up to us whether we stay that way or not. We have the full capacity to transform our lives, the way we want to. The past is just a trail we leave behind, it’s like our footprints in the sand.
It’s not who you are; its only who you were and where you have been. Nothing more and nothing less.
Sounds way too complicated?
Let me simplify this, coming to my point.
There is a reason your windshield is bigger than your rear-view mirror…
Where you are headed is much more important than what you have left behind.
Let’s consider the following steps to understand how to live in the present moment, without dwelling on your past…
Accept the past
We can look back to see how far we have come and use this as a way to encourage us to go forward. We can look back to situations that were difficult at the time, but through the pain we learnt and grew.
Whatever happened, has happened. You made the wrong choice, said the wrong thing, went in the wrong direction, whatever it was, its done and it’s over. The fact of the human condition is that you won’t always choose wisely and you won’t choose in your best interests every single time. Either you don’t have the correct information or your emotions overrule your mind or else sometimes mind overrules your gut. You might not have enough time to consider all options, or you might have pressure on you to choose a way. And in all the chaos you make a decision which seems absolutely correct in that particular situation but turns out to be utterly stupid at the very next moment. Now what? Just relax and give yourself a break. Whatever it was, the bottom line is that the conditions are not always optimal for anyone to make the perfect decision every time. Accept it, Own it and love yourself anyway.
Learn from it
In any given moment we can choose to learn from our past and decide to let it go.
Now since you have accepted your past, whatever it was, good or bad, try and take an objective view of what happened. Why did you do/decided what you did? This is not an opportunity to bash yourself, but rather to examine the event/situation critically. You can learn a lot about how you make decisions by trying to understand what went wrong. Make a note of it. You obviously can’t revisit your past, but surely you can turn your attention to something that you want now, something you want to do now, that you want to say to someone. Plan and proceed for your dreams. This will surely start turning your attention from rear view to the large windshield looking forward.
Believe in the present
Once you learnt that your past cannot be changed and that the life ahead is much more deserving, turn your view to the senses. Resolve to engage with your present world. Remember, whatever has happened in your past has no power over this present moment. Get involved with the NOW and heighten your senses to what’s around you. The mind can’t focus on two things at a time, so if you turn your attention to your surroundings, you won’t be able to focus on your rear-view regrets.
Many of you might be aware of this analogy of the rear-view mirror and the front windscreen of the car. The rear-view mirror is very small in comparison to the windscreen, although both play a major role in driving process.
Yes of course, one needs to look backward while driving, and has to reverse the car using rear views. But the fact that we drive more forward than backward, is obviously true.
Now, imagine yourself driving only looking forward. You might miss out on what was coming up from behind that can cause you an accident. There might even be something you have gone past, that you might have missed seeing, and you need to take a glance back to see it properly.
What will you do?
Same is with our lives. Life is also a journey and the only time we have is now, in the present. That’s certain. We don’t have the future and we are not in the past as well. Now, is all we have. However, the past that we have left behind us, is necessary to make our journey forward more safe and successful. Looking back into the past can be helpful and therapeutic in many ways, as our past is a storehouse of our experiences (good or bad), to help with our present and future.
But again, if you keep driving with your eyes on what you’ve left behind, you will eventually crash. Take the steps to get your eyes back on the road and see the scenery of today and focus on where you are going, without ignoring what has been left behind.
However, this is a gradual process. Utilising the necessary learning is important until it becomes a burden to us. You need to connect to your past only to the point it proves to be instructive and thereafter let go.
I often wonder, what is it that people are frightened about their past?
So much so that they are blocking up themselves.
What is in their past that they are restricting and preventing themselves from having the future they really deserve?
Is it really required to stop ourselves, owing to our past? Whatever it might be – a serene beauty or a traumatic heartbreak, does that hold any importance in our present life or may be our future life?
Yes, it does.
If we dishonour our past, even with its difficulties and pain, we are effectively shutting ourselves off from the lessons learnt that are vital for building a better future.
It’s imperative to remember the illusory nature of time. The past and future can seem so very real, but our lives are really just a series of present moments, one after the next. Thus, the key of transforming our life is to harness the power of each moment as it is happening.
Remember, the past is your lesson, the present is your gift and the future is your motivation.