Learn from the past, live in the now.
LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT is difficult enough. Many mystics and spiritual masters from Jesus and the Buddha to Ram Das and Pema Chodron have tried to teach us how to place our full awareness in the reality of the now, in which all reality manifests. As a teacher, I make it a practice to keep my eyes on the audience for feedback on whether what I am teaching makes sense or if I have traveled too far off the subject. More often than not I’ll get the distinct impression that people’s attention wanders outside the classroom. Granted it is impossible to keep one’s attention on a single subject for hours at a time. But it ought to be possible to focus for a few minutes at the very least.
How much of you is present as you read this article. How often does your attention wander from what you are supposed to be doing? And when you aren’t “here,” where are you?
Everything from depression and lack of creativity to blocked intuition and emotions to an inability to tap into the resources of energy medicine has its roots in living outside the energy field of present time. The lack of clarity that you experience when you are out of touch with your intuitive voice, for example, can be explained quite simply. You are focusing on too many things simultaneously, so how can you possibly hear one clear voice? You are in too many places at once. Intuition is not a gift; it is a skill. And the key to refining that skill is to reduce distractions. You begin by collecting your fragments from your history, which can be far more effective than turning to a vegetarian diet.
Eating broccoli and rice cakes may make you healthier—or not—but it will never help you become intuitive. You can eat beef on a weekly basis and become a genius intuitive if your energy is in present time.You can consume only organic food while running thirty-five miles a day and “om-ing” until dawn, but if your spirit is raging about your history and is saturated in regrets and unfinished business, you won’t be able to intuit your left hand from your right.
The task before each of us is to learn from our past, to appreciate our past, but to live now. This is not a lifestyle; it is a living style—an active and empowered relationship with life that widens your capacity to channel the life force and to ascend to a higher level of awareness. Just think about this for a moment. As with study habits, if you know how to utilize your time, you can afford to take on an extra class. When your energy is focused in the present, you can afford to absorb more knowledge, more awareness, because your body, mind, and spirit are working as a team to their maximum capacity. But beyond that extremely basic analogy, we need to examine what exactly awareness is.
Living in present time generates yet another extraordinary ability: all things become one thing when you are in present time. No matter which way you look or what lens you are looking through, you see the interconnection of all life.
Within present time, you begin to experience what it means to live within the Truth that All is One.
Five Rules for Staying in Present Time
- Choose something in your life that you want to change, but make it a reasonable choice. Choose something that will require daily attention, such as exercising every day or changing your nutritional program. Whatever the choice, just make sure it’s something you really can accomplish each day without having to turn your world upside down. Pay attention to every obstacle or distraction that surfaces to prevent you from accomplishing your goal. Write down the obstacles along with your impressions about why you are sabotaging your practice to keep your awareness in present time.
- Two times a day, create an image and see how long you can hold that image without any distraction from your external environment. Once again, make note of what distracts you—emotional concerns, noises, bodily discomfort, traveling into your past. Every form of distraction holds a literal and symbolic meaning. It’s worth the extra step to consider the meaning of your distractions.
- Pay attention to your excuses and how often you use the past to excuse something you are doing or do not want to do in the present moment, particularly if you use illness or lack of energy.
- Make note of what energizes you in the present moment. What makes you feel good? And then pay attention as to whether you think, say, or do something that sabotages your joys, particularly if what you think or do is based on the past.
- Develop a mantra—a special short positive thought—that brings your attention back to present time.
Caroline Myss has been in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness for 20 years. She specializes in assisting people in understanding the emotional, psychological, and physical reasons why their bodies have developed an illness.