How can I live in the present?
Aren’t you already in the present? You have to only open your eyes and see this reality. You can’t but live in the present. You actually have no choice. Yes, but the mind – the mind tricks you by taking you to the past or the future. Both the past and future are based on projections. When your mind projects joy into the past – it becomes nostalgia. When your mind project joy into the future – it becomes hope. And when the mind projects sorrow into the past – it is regret; and sorrow in the future – is worry. Just become aware this very moment and see these four states of the mind – joy in the past is nostalgia, joy in the future is dreams and hope, sorrow in the past is regret and sorrow in the future is worry. The skill in life is to be free from these four quadrants. The question therefore is how do I become free of these ? This can be brought about by two things:
Practice and Dispassion is the secret to live in the present moment
- Practice: Constantly practice living in the moment. If you worry about something in the past, recognize the quadrant in which your mind operates and with this gentle awareness, bring it back to its centre. If you are joyful about something that will happen in the future, become aware and bring the mind back to the NOW. Be gentle with the mind – like you would be while teaching a child. Slowly with constant practice, you can train the mind to start operating in the present.
- Dispassion and Surrender: Practice without surrender is like going to the gym without taking adequate rest. Rest is crucial if you want to exercise. So also with the mind. Any mental effort has to be coupled with surrender. Effort is an exertion of the ego. While surrender is relaxing and letting go of the ability to control. So be dispassionate about the results of your practice and surrender it to the divine. The divine always takes care.
So what are the effects of living in the present? Enthusiasm and spontaneity. Our actions come from a space of what is needed to be done at this moment as opposed to past knowledge and future apprehensions. Doing what is needed right now without likes and dislikes, without too much analysis is the Yoga of Action. It is elevating action to a science of uplifting oneself.