The past is gone forever except in our memories. Tomorrow is ever elusive – always just on the horizon. More and more we are being exhorted to come present, come to right now, this moment. Joy, happiness, relaxation, ease are all to be found in being present, right now. But how?
In direct opposition, on TV we are told to plan for all sorts of different things – our children’s education, our retirement, taking care of our parents, etc. All of these “plans” take us into the future. Our society teaches us to worry about what will happen in the future if we age, gain weight, don’t work hard enough, can’t’ keep up with the Joneses, don’t win the next promotion. If we wrote a list of our worries, it would take a while and probably be a very long list.
Then, there are our regrets. If only we had not made this decision, taken this job, married this person, decided to have children or decided not to have children. Again the list is long and where are our regrets directed?. Yes, in the past.
Meditation in its many forms is one tool for coming present into this moment. Focusing on our breath, called Vipassana in the Buddhist tradition, is one of the simplest forms of meditation. Stop right now and watch as you breathe in, breathe out. When you focus here your mind is quiet and you are in this moment. Staying with this in and out flow needs a bit more discipline. As you breathe you may notice some mind chatter kicking up. Just re-focus on your breath. Feel your body expand and contract with each breath. Feel the relaxation of your muscles with each breath.
Don’t like sitting still. There are movement meditations. Walking a labyrinth is one. Of course you need a labyrinth, but there are more of them around than you think. An online search can turn one up in your area. Just a walk in nature can be a meditation if you focus on the sounds, smells and colors around you. Stay with each new view as you walk. Stop look at a flower. Smell it. How many petals does it have? What is its color? How does it make you feel right now? The more time you spend in the present, the easier your flow of life.