Embrace the now.
As I grow older I begin to consider what is really important. It's much easier to do when one has a lifetime of experience.
Lately I've been thinking about a concept that I learned decades ago but was never able to comprehend. Perhaps nobody explained it to me in a simple form that my mind could understand. I will try.
We all spend a lot of time thinking about the past and contemplating the future. We might think about the good times we had in the past or the pain we suffered or others suffered. We look to the past as justification for our actions and we look to the future for salvation from our pain or past deeds. Either is a waste of time. We only have the present. The past and future do not exist. They never have.
But SagaciousOne, I was there. I saw those things happening. I felt the experience.
You were not in the past, you were in the now. You felt those thing in the now; in the present. It was the present. Nothing has ever happened in the past or future. There is only the now. The past is a memory in your mental database and the future is mere speculation or projection.
When your mind is always busy thinking about the past and the future, you are missing what is happening now around you.
I once spent some weeks hiking and canoeing with a Peruvian native woman who was a guide on the Amazon and in the Andes. She told me she didn't understand Americans because they would be sitting on a boat gliding through the Amazon jungle or riding on some mountain trail with vast vistas and they'd be listening to their WalkMan and reading a book.
I really loved traveling the river and walking the woods with Amelia. She would look, listen and feel rather than talk. She also didn't understand why, after having spent weeks in America and years around Americans she knew nothing of the natural beauty in America that I was showing her. "Why are so many Americans in therapy when they have all this" she would ask me.
She was in the now. She understood that it was all we really have.
Therapy is a wonderful thing. I've enjoyed it's benefits at times, but there comes a point when we enter a bottomless pit of self discovery uncovering every little event and consequence of our lives. If we are totally present in the now, what difference does it make why our anger drives us. What difference do the actions of our fathers or mothers decades before matter? Be conscious or where you are, what you are doing, what is going on around you and your reactions to those things, but don't react. Just observe and note. If we are conscious of our now and ourselves within it, those actions that are driven by unconscious pain can not control us. Accept what is and is happening. There is little you can do about any of it. It simply is what is happening in the now. You can do one of three things about the things around you, you can accept it and watch it unfold, you can accept it and remove yourself from it or you can accept it and try to be a positive influence upon it. Anything else is pure insanity that will at best have no effect and at worse, have tragic results. I walk away from almost all things that I find irritating to my now.
We spend countless hours thinking of what will be or what has passed. If you are like me, you can sometimes carry on conversations in your head the way you wished things had transpired during some event or conversation you had decades ago. Or, you can spend hours contemplating conversations you might have when this or that event finally arrives. Maybe you spend days fantasizing about how some experience is going to look or feel when it finally arrives only to find that when the experience does arrive it is nothing as you'd planned or imagined. And when that experience or event does arrive, it lasts but a few minutes or even seconds, but you have spent the past week, month or year worrying about or anticipating its arrival.
Enjoy where you are right now. Do you have any problems right now? Probably not. You have the luxury of sitting in front of your computer reading this. You have no problems right now. You may have situations that you will need to deal with tomorrow or the next day or even an hour from now, but they are not happening now. Most things outside ourselves that cause us grief or pain are very short lived events which we can do little to change. Enjoy where you are right now at all times.
When you are driving your car, drive your car. When you are taking a bath, take a bath. When you are having sex, simply have sex. Don't go off into some never neverland where you think things will be better or brighter. It never is. The best and brightest is right here where you are now. Experience life in the now.
Open your eyes and ears to what is, now. Embrace your now.