There is absolutely no place or time you can ever be but in the here and now. And the here and now keeps expiring. We move through space and time, and before we can even get the words “here” and “now” out of our mouths, they have changed. It’s really a very funny business, this existence.
As fleeting as the here and now are, they are the most powerful time and place we can ever be. In fact, they are the only time and place we can ever be. We can involve our minds and emotions in thinking about or having feelings about the past or future, but we can’t go there. We are here. This might seem simplistic, but it is an enormously powerful awareness to work with to bring peace and harmony to our minds and emotions.
Every time we focus on the past or future, we are abandoning the present moment unless we do something about our thoughts in the present moment. If there is nothing to do now to resolve a past concern or to anticipate a potential future one, then thinking or worrying about them only means we are probably making ourselves miserable and vacating the present moment. Our attention is not here, it’s there. So we end up being nowhere when we are worrying about the past or future, because we can’t go there and we aren’t present in the now.
Consider something you are worried about that lies in the future. For example, let’s say you are worrying about whether or not you will have good weather during your beach holiday next week. If you listen to your self-talk, you might hear something like this: “What if it rains? We’re spending all this money, and our holiday will be ruined if we don’t have good weather.” When you become aware of having this kind of thinking, you have an important choice to make. Do you let your worries pollute your experience in the here and now? Or do you nip your worries in the bud. Here’s what these two choices look like. If you feed your worries it will be like adding kindling wood to an already burning fire. Your worries will become bigger and bigger as you fantasize all the ways you might not enjoy your expensive vacation. You are just spinning your wheels in the here and now, making yourself miserable, and your vacation hasn’t even happened yet. In fact, it might turn out to be awesome.
Alternatively, here’s how staying present in the here and now can minimize your worries. Instead of feeding on your worries, when your first concern about the weather comes up, ask yourself “What can I do about this concern in the here and now?” You might decide to look at the weather forecast to get more information. If it looks good, that might stop your worries. If it looks iffy or bad, ask yourself again, “What can I do about this in the here and now?” Maybe the answer is nothing, or you might think, “I’m not going to let that ruin my day today,” or you might decide to pack and plan for bad weather just in case. If there is nothing further to be done in the here and now, choose not to feed your worries so you can enjoy the present. This might seem obvious and simplistic, but it can save the day when autopilot patterns of worrying creep up on you. Try it and let me know how this works for you.