Lately, I’ve been thinking about time and what it means to different people. Some people feel they have too much time with nothing satisfying to fill it. In their cases, time goes by slowly, even agonizingly at times. Busy people feel that time flies by too quickly, that they never have enough of it for themselves. Life is passing them by and they have no ability to slow things down. To them, it’s the way of the world today. And what about those who feel time has just about stopped because they cannot bear to be in the present moment? They are going through some type of life change and cannot wait for the transition to end. They just want to get to the next place hoping to feel more at ease with their life. Any other time would feel better than the present.
There are many books on the subject of living in the present moment. I remember when I first read about the subject in Eckhart Tolle’s, The Power of Now. Although I loved the concept, I was overwhelmed and found it difficult to follow. It all seemed too big for me. Recently, Eckhart wrote in a Present Moment Reminder, “Somebody, I don’t recall who, once said: “When you get there, there’s no there there”. This applies not only to location in space, but also to time: when you get to the future, you find yourself in the present moment. So the future never comes. Don’t let the thought of future (or past) obscure the preciousness of the present moment.”
What makes it so difficult for us to remain in the present moment if there is no future or past? Does staying in the now mean that we can’t plan for the future or remember our past? The answer is no. I used to be confused by that when first learning about living in the moment, but slowly over time, I began to see that the two had little to do with each other. You can spend time remembering your past while being in the present. The trick is not to relive the past in each moment of your present. The past cannot be changed. Everything in our lives was lived for a purpose. The trick is to take the lesson that was learned in the past and use it while living your life in the present.
Now, what about the future? This is a tough area for me. I have a difficult time thinking about the future. It’s not that I am so good at being present in the moment; it’s just that I always feel like I am in survival mode. Thinking about the future almost never feels like an option. I recently re-read the book The Right Questions, by Debbie Ford, and found a passage that really put that type of thinking into a different perspective for me. She writes, “If we want to understand why and how we created our present reality, all we need to do is look at the choices we made in the past. Examining our present circumstances will show us that we got where we are as a result of decisions we made yesterday and the days before that. Likewise, if we want to know what our lives will look like in the future, we have to examine the choices we are making today.”
I can clearly see now that I make most of my present moment choices based on my past choices. I can also see that many of those choices were made from a place of unconsciousness, as if I were on automatic pilot. Debbie goes on to explain that in order to make good choices for our future, we must look to our vision of what we want in our future. If we hold our vision in mind while making present moment choices, we will find that we do things differently. She helps you to do that by asking a series of questions that will enable to make conscious choices that are in alignment with your vision of your future self. Think about how you view time. Is it a friend or foe? Are you living in your past or future with no regard to your actions in the present moment? What is your vision for the future? Do your choices today support you to reach that vision? Many years ago, while watching the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, I listened to Gandalf talking to Frodo and was struck by this quote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
How will you live your time today?
Yours in transformation,