Now is where we truly live. This is home, forgotten. It is this exact moment. Now. No watches are allowed; timelessness is encouraged. There is no other moment quite like it. Our Breath loves it, takes us to it.
Worries shy away from the Now, as they tend to focus on tomorrow. Regrets withdraw, as they tend to dwell on the past.
The Now can pull rank if we allow it. Fear, anxiety, anger and resentment, usually so intrusive, will defer to it and take a back seat when we recognize the Now.
Now is always a new script based upon our most immediate Breath.
Now is the I Am.
This is where we can Just Be. Be here Now. Just be.
We feel our Bodies in it. We feel each point of contact with the world outside of us. A chair. The ground. The air. Another Body.
This is Now. It is the pin-point break in constant Change.
It is a series of moments in the flow that are unsegregated, blurred─ but distinct when appreciated.
It is a snapshot of a hummingbird in flight, a portrait of a flower in bloom.
It is lightning. It is a green flash at sunset.
It is spontaneity of action.
It is laughter, movement, music and dance, as they live in the Now and are not distracting from it.
It blurts out. It expresses. It creates. Poems. Paintings. Prose. Smiles. Sex.
It says, “I am here alive Now!” It jumps for joy. It gifts you with awe.
Thoughts disappear in its presence. Ego is tardy.
It is the response to: It’s Now or never. As soon as you say it, Now disappears. If you don’t live in it, you get left behind. If you try to get ahead of it, you miss the point.
It is not self-conscious.
Without the Now, we would only be a has-been or a may-be. We would always be waiting, worrying, regretting or waxing nostalgic. We would miss the power and exactitude of: I AM.
What we want is to lose ourselves in the Now. We want it to win. Then we win. Then we live. Now is the magic of just being.
Right Now, in this magic moment, more than ever:
I AM. HERE. NOW. PRESENT. ALIVE. THIS MOMENT. I BREATHE. I LIVE. NOW.
This magic moment.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look forward to another land. There is no other land. There is no other life but this.” -Henry David Thoreau
How Do We Live In The Now?
Most have experienced living in the Now on occasion. These are periods when we are not distracted by thoughts, worries or efforts to control what is happening around us to any great extent. These are moments when we catch ourselves “just being.” We are not “spacing out.” We are aware of the moment, of our own bodies and of what’s happening around us. And we are not reacting to nor are we mentally commenting on what is happening to us in any way.
We have gotten so used to being in modes of constant reaction─ striving, planning, being distracted, having our senses constantly stimulated─ that the moments of peace and relative inaction have become rare and even uncomfortable. In actuality, however, these moments represent what is our True, natural, resting state. They are a neutral gear of sorts. They are examples of Equanimity.
We experience living in the Now also when we are in what is called The Flow, as described by author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. “Flow” is described as a state of being totally engaged in and in touch with an activity, maximizing the use of our skills and abilities to the point that we are “in the groove” and the activity is performed at an optimal level. Ego is shed and we are often oblivious to the passing of time. Playing jazz and other creative arts are sometimes cited as examples of being in The Flow.
When we are lost in time, doing what we love to do with a sense of spontaneity, we are in The Flow. We are living in the Now.
We also seek this experience of living in the Now through various sporting activities. When we engage in a sport, we might have a general plan of action, but mostly we just operate in the moment. Each moment matters in sports and our focus cannot be distracted. When I go scuba diving, for example, I am living in each moment. My Body, Breath and Intuition guide me. We enjoy sporting activities in general because they bring us to this natural state of living in the Now.
Most creatures in the Tree of Life and on Earth are not planning, striving or worrying themselves away from the present moment. We can think of Humanity at a simpler time and place that was more present-oriented. That is how most creatures on Earth still live.
When we engage in Meditation and Mindfulness, we are essentially practicing living in the Now and catching ourselves when we get away from it. We are shedding ego, thoughts, and worries.
We can retrain ourselves to live in the Now with activities like Meditation and Mindfulness. Our Breath can play a major role in both of these because the Breath always brings us back to the Now. A practice of conscious breathing is essential to living in the present moment (see Breath element).
Other activities in the realm of creativity and movement can keep us in the Now while we are doing them and can help us develop the skill of staying in the present moment as well. Dance, music performance, painting, poetry and yoga all help us to live in the Now.
To participate in the world, we still need to engage in planning about our future and resolving issues from our past to the extent that they are still part of our lives, either internally or externally. What we want to do, though, is be very conscious that we are truly engaging in these actions, as opposed to allowing our mind to wander to the past or future while we are doing them.
Living in the Now requires us to be very mindful of where our thoughts are drifting. When we do find ourselves drifting, we can simply refocus our Breath on the present moment.
Why Live in The Present Moment?
From a spiritual perspective, many paths contain teachings that focus on living in the present moment. Some will teach that Divinity or the Kingdom is within us, meaning it is here, Now, as opposed to some place afar and in the future. Believers will engage in spiritual activities that may ultimately result in awakening in some form or another. When that occurs, that person will experience the Divinity within directly. It is often described as a very personal “here and Now” kind of thing.
Moments of awakening are moments of Communion; they only occur when obstacles are removed, appropriate doors are opened and the experience is allowed. It is an act of Surrender that is not to be controlled or forced and it only occurs with thoughts and ego are shed. And, of course, moments of awakening or Communion only happen in the Now.
On a daily basis, we seek to make Communion a part of our life in all interactions; the more we are in living in the present moment, the more likely this type of Communion will occur. In a state of Mindfulness, we create Equanimity that allows our other natural spiritual qualities to rise up. We become more loving, Peaceful and blissful. Our Wisdom and Intuition arise. We are more present for others.
Living in the Now creates an environment conducive to Communion, enabling all that comes with that to bubble up.
The bottom line is: In the Now, you are more the “pure you.” We naturally seek this state on some level once we have tasted it. Your Divinity is here, Now. Ironically, holding out for Heaven/Divinity as some sort of future reward based upon rule compliance here on Earth distracts from the Now─ and from the Divinity of the moment. To live for some future heavenly reward is to disregard the Now, thereby ignoring the Divinity which is already here and Now.
“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve and life begins to flow with Joy and ease. When you act out of present moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love, even the most simple action.” -Eckhart Tolle
When we are aware of the moment and living in the Now, we are more present for others and ourselves. To be fully present for others is to be beaming with Love. Presence for others offers Respect for others’ Divinity and validation for their being. Being present for others in the Now also allows us to be more attuned to their needs and gives us greater access to our own Intuition, sense of Empathy and Healing resources. Being present for others in the Now is a true act of giving and Generosity.
On a very practical level, we will simply listen better when we are in the Now. We won’t be formulating our clever responses while others are talking; we will actually be listening to what they have to say.
Sitting With It
When we are present for ourselves, we are conscious of life and all of our experiences; we can access the Divinity of everyday life and experience a deeper Communion with God. What we can also do is learn to be present, in the Now, with our own emotions.
A world of constant busy-ness focused on past and future actions may serve to distract us from experiencing the emotions that rise up in various moments of our lives. With these constant distractions, sometimes our emotions get short shrift. They do not get processed and moved out as the root word of e-“motion” implies. They are suppressed and stored away. We do not experience them and we lose the opportunity to apply Mindfulness to learn and grow from these experiences. Emotional Energy builds up; when it gets too crowded ‘in there,” it will look for an out which might manifest itself in physical or mental health symptoms.
In the Now, we can practice sitting with and experiencing our emotions. The Light shines upon them and we allow them to play out in some fashion. They may just shrivel in the Light. They may prove to be inaccurate to the situation. They may provide us some insight for some Healing work if our current emotions tie into some old wound. The point is that our emotions, whatever they are, get their day in court. They get validated as existing when we are present and when we sit with them.
When emotions are processed and moved out in a healthy manner, we become more present in the Now. Released emotions cannot distract our Energy from the present moment and we have a better opportunity for Communion.
“The most precious gift that we can offer others is our presence. When Mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” -Thich Naht Hanh
Not Being Able to Be Present
We can’t be present when we have unconscious wounds from the past directing our life in some way. This may be a wound or imprint that I like to describe as “The Almost Universal, Most Likely Unconscious Wound of False-Inherent Inadequacy.” Such a wound, usually acquired during our often emotionally hazardous upbringing, can take the form of simple codes imprinted deep within our emotional hard-drives. The tunes they play sound something like: “I am not lovable,” “I don’t matter,” and so on.
When we are, in essence, directed by a wound of the past, we are not living in the Now. We are missing out on the Divinity of the Now since our Energy is being directed towards that past wound.
Unconsciously and energetically, we will continually seek to soothe our deep wounds in some manner by either letting them play out over and over again, attempting to disprove them temporarily while they persist, or self-medicating. Or we could do all of the above.
The point here is that such wounds, if gone unaddressed, will block us from authentically living in the moment. We will literally always be living in the past as manifested by that particular wound from a time gone by. Gaining Self-Awareness and engaging in Healing work in regards to these wounds will allow us to be more present, more able to live in the Now and more able to receive all the benefits that come with that.
Just like sitting with our emotions on a daily basis, in doing Healing work, we will sit with the pain of those old wounds. We learn that we can survive releasing them in some fashion. Refreshingly, we will come to realize that any imprint of inherent inadequacy placed upon us way back when was, in fact, inherently untrue.
“If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.” –Eckhart Tolle
Breath, Meditation and Mindfulness are the elements that are most supportive of living in the Now.
Self-Awareness and Healing help us to discover and address old wounds which may be unconsciously keeping us from living in the Now.
Solitude, Nature and Stillness are all conducive to supporting awareness of the Now.
Light-ness keeps us in the Now like a feather is Light in the moment. It floats.
Our Body can ground us in the Now when we get out of our heads and into our Bodies through simple awareness or physical movement like dance or yoga.
Creativity in itself is an expression of living in the Now and being in the flow of our Truth.
- Conscious Breathing (see Breath element). This involves having a general awareness of your breathing throughout the day (or at least at periodic moments) as this awareness serves to ground and get you out of your head and puts you in the Now. Conscious Breathing is my go-to method that brings me into the Now throughout the day.
- Mindfulness, practiced as a way of being, will serve to help you be witness to your thoughts and notice signals from your Body as to when you are not living in the Now and not living your Truth. You can monitor your mind to see when it goes into any state of future or past. From here, you can engage your breathing to bring you back to the present moment.
- Notice those activities that you engage in where you lose yourself to the moment, i.e. when you “lose track of time.” This could involve periods of creative expression, Service, or pure enjoyment. Do more of what puts you in this flow, without attempting to force the state.
- Slow down in general. Take time to experience each moment. Walk slower. Eat slower. Love slower.
- Being in Nature is very much an experience of the Now. We are less aware of our everyday, conventional worries and more aware of the moment when we are in Nature. Touching Nature─ literally hugging a tree or feeling the texture of the Earth beneath your feet─ will tend to ground you in the moment.
- Walk barefoot. When you do this, you have to be mindful of each step in each moment.
I Am Here Now. I Live and Breathe in this Moment.
I Am Aware of My Body, My Breath and My Being. I Feel Alive, Now
I Am Here, Now, In This Space, Love. I Am Here, Now, In This Space, Divine.
Let Me Feel How I Feel, in This Moment. Let Me Experience Life. Let Me Experience Emotion.