Ten Scrolls for a Better Life: Presence (2/11)

1. I will embark on this day with a new mind, body, and spirit.

Presence is about ending the past and starting the present. Each moment has the same lifespan yet we tend to ignore the duration of certain moments completely and try to extend the duration of other moments indefinitely. The truth is, after each moment of present becomes a moment of the past it can no longer be changed, and any future moments are unknown and cannot be predicted. The present is the moment we exist in. We don’t exist in the past, we existed in it; we don’t exist in the present we may exist in it. So often we live our lives in these two realms, ignoring the only true moment.

In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle speaks of the difference between clock time and psychological time:

“Clock time includes learning from the past, setting goals, and predicting future with patterns and laws. Psychological time is dwelling on the past or living in the future and the now becomes neglected. The mind sometimes creates an obsession with the future as an escape from the unsatisfactory present. All negativity is caused by accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.”

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Surely it is useful to use time to bring some structure to your life like he explains. Unfortunately it is so often used instead in dwelling on old memories, admiring them as a source of happiness, worrying about upcoming situations, and hoping/imagining for better. The more we neglect what is happening right now the more unhappy we will be. The pain we feel in the moment is hardly ever caused by the moment. Instead, it is always some form of non acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.

Certain things in the past may not have gone the way we always wanted them to. If we are still resisting what happened in the past, we are resisting what is. Hope is what keeps us going, but hope keeps us focused on the future, and this continued focus perpetuates our denial of the now.

The more lifetime we give to moments, the more unhappy we will be. Usually we give lots and lots of extra time to moments we call problems. Our lives may seem full of problems but ask yourself a question: do you have any problems at this moment? Not 3 minutes ago, not last week, but right now in this moment, are you experiencing any problems? Problems are mind-made and require this time we give them to survive. Moments don’t create problems, but we do when we dwell on situations without the intention of taking action. If a problem has a solution is that a problem?

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A problem may seem like it can be conditional and not so black and white; take financial problems or health problems for example. Although, the way I see it is this: every problem is made up of small individual moments. In each of these moments we have choices, sometimes hard ones, but they each only lasting a moment. Why mash all these instances together and think, “oh my goodness I have this huge problem right now in my life!” If we’re not dealing with one of those moments that make up our “problem” right now, then why are we even thinking about it?

As I put it, beginning each day with a new mind, body, and spirit, simply means to forget about the trials and tribulations of the past and don’t be distracted by the dreams or fears of the future. Today and only today we exist, today we can begin to change things in our lives that we don’t like or bring things into it that we desire, and only in this moment can we focus our energy on those things. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it perfectly:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

 

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