There’s a great deal of focus currently, on living in the moment.
There’s a plethora of written material, tapes and videos which approach the subject from various angles.
Whether it’s meditation, yoga, tai-chi or contemplative prayer they are all pointing us in the same direction—towards the experience of the now.
This is not a new idea by any means. For centuries eastern philosophies have taught about the power of the present. Many western theories also advise us, “to take no thought for tomorrow”.
As much as the idea of living in the moment may appeal to us and at an intellectual level seem imminently logical, it also seems to go against our natural bent.
It seems difficult to imagine not thinking of the past, either with fondness or regret. It seems even more impossible to imagine not thinking about the future, either with excitement or anticipation.
When we think about living in the moment, we often think of it as a discipline; an exercise if you like, we must be diligent about achieving greater skill.
The truth is, living in the moment is our true nature. With the understanding we now have of how we function psychologically, we are better able to see the relationship between our thinking and our experience.
With the recognition that we think, and with an increased awareness of the thinking, feeling connection, we are able to see how our experience of life is created.
We can recognize that when we’re in the past or the future, we’re in our imagination.
From the moment of birth until our last breath we are thinking and with every thought we have a feeling.
Think about the Christmas you got your first puppy. You will probably have a smile come to your face. Think about the time your team lost the cup and you may have feelings of anger or regret.
Both these experiences are your imagination at work. But these thoughts pass and are replaced by another thought. This is how our inner world works.
Depending on what we consider important, we tend to attach to certain thoughts more than others. For some it may be concerns about money. For others it may be issues of safety forming many of their thoughts.
The content of the thought is not really the important part, but rather the feeling that goes with the thought. The feeling is our barometer. It tells us where our thinking is taking us and how personally we are taking the thought.
If we have a feeling of well being and calm we can be sure that we are living in the moment and not taking our thinking personally.
If we have a feeling of urgency and upset, we can be sure we are taking our thinking very personally and seriously.
In other words what we think—is what we feel—is what we get. We get to choose, not what we think, but how seriously we take our thoughts.
Living in well being is very much like driving a car. When you get a gnarly feeling it’s as if you have slipped onto the gravel shoulder.
With our cars we just naturally correct and bring it back to the smooth road. That’s what we want to do with our thinking—just be gently self-correcting, moment to moment.
As we begin to recognize our imaginations’ creation we will slip easily back into well being—imagine that!