While working in the office or doing household chores, do you wander in the fantasy world of La La Land? Or what about in time encapsulated past moments? If you do, no need to panic. For you are not alone. You are one of 99.99% of homo sapiens, if not all, who could not stay in the present moment.
What can we do? We love multi-tasking. Aside from doing this and that, we simultaneously think of something else. We watch the clouds go by while having lunch, and at the same time ruminating on a problem from yesteryear.
So the million dollar question is: How can we stay in the Present Moment?
Before we tackle that question, we need first to know what part of our being that needs to stay in present moment.
The answer is quite simple: The Mind
Obviously, it is not our physical body. The body may take more than one tasks but, as always, only at present moment. It doesn’t have the ability to project itself to past and future time periods. Its dwelling place is only at present moment, no matter what.
In contrast, the mind can defy the present moment. At will, it can zoom back into a certain moment happened years ago or jump ahead into the future, and savor every bit of emotional drama. Nothing could hinder the mind to enjoy time travel, treading into threshold of either Past or Future. After all, it’s only mind stuff.
Actually what your mind does is pretty simple. It would simply pull a past event out of your memory bank or imagine a fresh future idea, then dump it into present moment. In that instant, a past or future moment has become a present event, but only in your mind. So it is only you and you alone who can enjoy the roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions.
You can try it right now. If you have had experience of excruciating emotional pain in the past, you simply recall it. Bring it to present moment in your mind and replay every detail of it. The next thing you know, you are grappling with emotional upheaval. And you can even do it all over again.
Once you are tired of the past, you can have your mind conjure up a fresh fantasy moment out of the future. You can imagine anything you please, with or without the help of your fatty memory bank. You only need your creativity. The more you are creative, the more pleasant or obnoxious your fantasy will be. Sky is the limit.
However, there is a problem. Both past and future moments are nothing but figments of your imagination. You are better off not to dwell in them. It is futile, for both are not here at this very moment. It’s all mind stuff. Nothing is real.
Once a moment has passed, it has gone forever. Nothing is left except its reminiscence. If there is worth of talking about a past moment, only the lesson it unfolded. Otherwise, it is only a conjuring imagination of joy and sorrow.
Likewise, the future moment is not here right now, and its occurrence has no guarantee whatsoever. You may or may not become what you wish to be. Of course, you can plan your future or anything you may want to do, but only up to that point. Anything beyond planning is at the mercy of Spontaneity of Life. In fact, you have no control of any future moment. None.
Now back to our million dollar question. How can we stay in the Present Moment?
Just follow these three steps:
First, you have to understand the past and future moments. No sweat, just re-read the above.
Second, let go the past & future moments.
Third, do the first and second steps again and again and again until your mind believes it.
I know it is not easy. For the mind is a dynamic and aggressive adventurer. But if you really want to stay in the present moment, here is a morsel of wisdom—Focus on the present moment by being mindful of whatever you are doing right here, right now at this moment.
If you are driving a car. You have to be mindful of your driving and be keenly aware of the car and everything within your peripheral vision. Stay focus to whatever is happening at present moment. Do not allow the mind to go astray.
You have to apply this mindful awareness to anything you do—walking, running, eating, playing, watching TV, etc. When you are not doing anything at all, just be mindful of your breathing. That should do the trick.
The key is—Whatever you are doing at this present moment, that is where your mind should be. After all, the Present Moment is the only real moment there is. All else is illusion.