Living in the moment

A happy experience in the past, if recalled, creates a feeling of lightness and can bring a person to smile. A painful experience, on the other hand, awakens feelings of hurt and hate.
When one desires and worries about gaining something in the future, it makes him or her anxious.
We were born and were brought up to have desires. For example, while we were kids, adults would tell us, “Study well so that you’ll have a bright future and can buy all the things that you want.”
This is normal. What becomes disturbing is when we become anxious on whether or not those desires will be met. That’s where the conflict in relationships happen – snapping at a loved one because plans didn’t go well, failure to lend a hand to a brother or sister in need because one is too busy reaching for his or her own dreams and most of all, the lack of peace in oneself.
All these stem from one thing – the lack of focus on the beauty of the moment, of what one has at present. That you’re “here now”, but you’d rather be “there.”
Author-sage Eckhart Tolle is proposing a solution through his book, “The Power of Now”.
Tolle emphasizes that if a person disciplines oneself in focusing on the “now” or the present moment, the fears of what the future holds and the hurts of the past need not haunt anymore.
“The present moment is all you ever have. There is never a time when your life is not 'this moment'. Is this not a fact? The reason why we fight with the now is because we're identified with mind, and we live exclusively ‘through memory and anticipation’ - this is, we live in thought,” he said.
One time, a vegetable vendor told her ‘suki’ this: “Galibog ang ulo ko kon paano ko hatagan sang maayo nga bwasdamlag ang akon pamilya. Paano kon indi ko sila mapatapos kay amo lang ini ang obra ko? Amo na kon kaisa, nagaluya ang lawas ko. (I’m worried on how I can give my family a better life with the kind of job that I have. Sometimes, I feel so hopeless).”
The ‘suki’ replied: “Indi na pag-problemahi ah. Ma-stress ka lang na panumdom, wala pa gani. Atipana lang sila sang maayo subong kutob sa makaya mo. Indi ka magluya kay basi indi ka pa na ganahan mangabuhi, mas naglain na gid. Sa tao ang gawa, sa Dios ang awa (Don’t worry too much about it. You’re just stressing yourself out thinking about the future. Just take care of them in whatever way you can now. Don’t lose hope because if you do, you might not have the energy to live well. Just do your best and God will do the rest).”
Sometime ago, a five-year-old boy approached his father’s partner and said, “Ga-problema ako ah. Paano ko ya ka-upod bwas sa uma?” right after his father and mother, who are separated, argued over the phone on the best way for the little boy to go with his mother to her hometown early the next day. That happened in the late evening when it was impractical for the child to travel to his mother. The child’s reaction was towards what happened ten minutes ago, which is the “past”.
The woman said, “Indi na pag-problemahi. Maabot lang na ang solution (Don’t worry about it. The solution will just come)”. The child calmed down after that. A few minutes later, the solution came with the mother deciding it’s more practical for her to just get the child from his father’s place because it’s where the bus going to the farm will pass anyway.
So, are you presently anxious of the future or hateful of the past? Do you keep on repeating in your mind the harsh words someone said about you? Or the harsh words you said towards someone?
Tolle said, “Ask yourself: is there joy, ease, and lightness in what I am doing? If there isn't, then time is covering up the present moment, and life is perceived as a burden or a struggle."
But, have you tried blocking bad thoughts coming to your mind, yet still feel its effect in your body through a heavy feeling? For Tolle, this means that the body is still resisting the “now”.
That’s why in the practice of Zen, individuals are asked to focus on the stillness and one’s breathing instead.
“By becoming aware of the empty space around you, you simultaneously become aware of the space of no-mind, of pure consciousness: the Unmanifested,” he said.
However, there also comes a time that the “now” is an experience that is unhappy. Tolle offers three solutions. “Remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now."
He further says, “Are you resisting your here and now? Some people would always rather be somewhere else. Their 'here' is never good enough."
"Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life,” he concludes.*

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