Updated: Nov 11, 2020
A few days ago, one of my clients was wondering about how to stay more present, and whether it actually was important. As we dug deeper into his thinking, we figured out that what prevented him from being more often in the moment was nothing more than the past taking over the present. There was even a self-acknowledgment of it being "cruel" from his own mind to do that, as many of the thoughts were either related to regret, resentment, or other typical sources of suffering. Then, at times, his mental reminder of staying present would be set off, helping him to be grounded again for a bit before the mind took over again. It seems like a tug-o-war, right? And it is one that many of us go through every-single-day.
I wondered for a moment: if we are perfect just as we are, well, that must include our sometimes masochistic minds, right? Why would we neglect something that is as divine as the rest of ourselves? And that's when the following question to my client came up: what do you know about staying present in the past? That question may not initially make much sense, but if my higher self came up with that, there was a reason for it. Then, in the same coaching session, the idea of becoming present in the future became feasible as well, and that's when the concept of time just faded into a simple mental construct, where once more, all that exists is the Now. In the midst of this line of thinking, more doors opened up as well, and all the pieces just started fitting together.
The thesis goes like this: if time is a mental construct, and all that we ever REALLY have is the Now, which is not a mental but what I call a "spiritual" time (at least to set them apart for clarity) then, the mind can also be present in its own mental time, be it in the mental past or in the mental future. Why would we do that? Well, that mental energy holds a lot of weight and can pull us back into that mental time over and over, preventing us from enjoying the Now. The more we run away from that stuck energy, the more it will chase us. If it comes up, it is because it wants to be tended, but consciously, directing the mind with an intention, care, compassion, and love, and not just letting it run wild like the crazy monkey it tends to act like. That war between mental time and the Now will thus be over when we remember that conflict requires two parties to disagree. When one opts out, then the war is over.
You access the past in the present by consciously accessing your memories, so that you are finally able to open up any emotional wounds, clean them up, and close them so that you can walk freely and be spiritually present without the pain from those wounds chasing you back. And what about the future? That can also hold some energy for us. The future is always uncertain, but in order to quiet down the mind (and for pragmatic reasons) we can plan out the future in the present in order to reduce some mental uncertainty, and thus quiet down the mind to come back to the Now.
Once you access the Now, you can more easily enjoy the pure bliss and lightness of the only time that has ever existed and will ever exist, the present moment. In it, you can immerse in a task without the mind chatter interrupting you, and thus increase your productivity; you can take a walk and simply observe the landscape and feel the fresh air without getting lost in your thoughts; or you can simply sit down in silence and enjoy the moment, without getting bored or feeling the need to engage in 100 things to distract the mind from its own chatter.