The present moment contains in it both the energy of the past and the future.
Although our minds have an almost compulsive need to drive in reverse or screech forward, disciplining ourselves to stay fully focused in the here and now is where power and peace reside.
A simple concept and one that has become quite the buzz, staying totally present and engaged in the present moment at all times is arguably the biggest challenge we face in a day.
It is all too tempting to journey down memory lane, to analyze every detail of yesterday, or to fantasize about the dreams of tomorrow.
These mental trips take us out of the reality of here and now. This thinking can become something of a trance, taking you on a “trip” and causing you to agonize over, or exaggerate the greatness of, that which is being considered. We generally either remember it to be worse or think it up to be better than it really is or will be.
Distorting Mind-Play: The Tendency to Romanticize or Ridicule
Looking backwards is a slippery slope. It is tempting to remember the good ol’ days, to analyze what we believe to be a personal historical mistake in order to glean wisdom from our error, or to think about what is yet to be.
Our perspectives however are colored by many things. Thoughts that come up are rarely neutral. Mental meandering is generally either romanticized or ridiculed, creating guilt and shame, or unrealistic expectations which may never be obtained
Often the tiny real life details of the moment that led up to the experience that is under review are forgotten. These are the nitty-gritty details that the mind likes to gloss over.
Likewise, the real-life occurrences that will culminate to make up the future is unaccounted for when we dream about being somewhere in the future other than here and now. The ivory-tower thinking changes dramatically when grounded by practical experience.
Backwards, forward, and sideways–the mind will analyze, distort, and drain out all magic from these experiences–turning them into a mangled mess.
The Ego’s Positive & Negative Delusions
Perfect examples of this can be seen in common triggers for people.
Often rather than finding their own passion and creating a life all their own, many girls dream of the future day that a perfect man will come rescue her from the average life she now lives. In this future fueled fantasy she will live a picture perfect life free of struggle and void of all suffering.
Likewise, many people tend to romanticize the past and engage in delusional thinking about prior experiences or relationships. Prime examples of this are the men and women who remember a previous partner with irrational fondness despite the fact their time with that person was riddled with perpetual negativity and issues. Yet, when escaping the now moment by traveling down memory lane wearing their rose-tinted lenses, all that is remembered is the glossy-image-of-perfection that this relationship and person supposedly embodied.
Another mental trap that contains a myriad of blind spots is when parents spend time agonizing on the errors or inadequacies of how they raised their children. Here, the past is often distorted as there is a strong urge for parents to beat themselves up. They should have taken little Joe on more bike rides or played dolls more with little Suzie. The parent however was doing many important things with, or for, Joe or Suzie instead of bike riding and doll playing.
It’s All Here in the Now
The evolution of life ensures that this very moment contains both the lessons of yesterday and the promise of tomorrow. Both the present and past are contained in a relevant way within the energy of now. Thus, everything needed to heal and create is right here and right now. And the next step is only revealed to you when you are fully engaged in the present step.
As they say, this very moment is a gift, which is why it is called the present.
We may cause ourselves much guilt, pain and suffering when we look backwards; and we could set ourselves up for preconceived resentments with unrealistic expectations when we set our future fantasies up in order to escape reality. Each of these are acts of rejecting the here and now.
Embracing the now, accepting the here, and gently guiding the energy forward with respect for where we have been, and inspiration for what may lie ahead, allows us to bask in the present peace offered in each gifted minute of every blessed day.