PRESENT MOMENT – WHERE I AM ALWAYS!
Much of my internal struggle stems from my desire to control life, insisting that it be different than it actually is. However, life is not always, or even rarely, the way I would like it to be. It is simply the way it is. The greater my surrender to this truth of the present moment, the greater will be my peace of mind. The measure of my peace of mind is determined by how much I am able to live in the present moment. Irrespective of what has happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where I am always!
My preconceived idea about the way life should be interferes with my opportunity to enjoy or to learn from the present moment. This prevents me from honoring what I am going through , which may be an opportunity for great awakening. Rather than reacting to complaining or disapproval from other members of my family I try to open my heart and accept the moment for what it is making it okay that they are not acting exactly the way I should like them to. If the project I have been working on is rejected, instead of feeling defeated I say to myself, Ah, rejection, next time I will get approval, I take a deep breath and soften my response. This is not to pretend that I enjoy complaints, disapprovals, or failures; but to transcend, that is overcome them, to make it alright with me that life is not performing the way I planned. In such a learning of how to open my heart in the midst of the difficulties of daily life I have found that many of the things that have always bothered me have ceased to be of concern. My perspective deepens. On the other hand, if I fight and struggle with life it becomes a battle and it is like I am a ball in a game of ping-pong.
Life is full of opportunities to choose between making a big deal of something or simply letting it go, realizing it does not really matter. There have been times when I had a need to argue, confront and fight for something I believed in. If my conscious or unconscious goal is to have everything work out in my favor, any disagreement or glitch in my plan can become a big deal. This is a sure prescription for unhappiness or frustration. There is a truth that life is really exactly the way I want it to be. Other people do not act as I would like them to. Moment-to-moment there are aspects of life that I like and others I do not like. There are always going to be people who will disagree with me, and people who do things differently, and things that do not work out. This is a true aspect of life. If I fight against this I will spend most of my life fighting. A peaceful way to live is to decide consciously whether it is worth fighting or better left alone. My primary goal is not to have everything work out perfectly but instead to have a relatively stress-free life. Most fights pull me away from my most tranquil feelings. It is not important for me to prove to members of my family that I am right . It is not important for me to confront a person because it appears that a minor mistake has been made.
I had mastered the neurotic art of spending much of my life worrying about a variety of things all at once. I did allow past problems and future concerns to dominate my present moment so much so that I ended up anxious, frustrated, depressed and hopeless. I had postponed my gratification, my stated priorities and my happiness, convincing myself that SOMEDAY I will be better than today. However, life was what was happening while I was busy making other plans. In short, I missed out on life.
Am I living life as if it were a rehearsal for some later date? I do not have a guarantee that I will be there tomorrow. Now is the only time I have and the only time that I have any control over. When my attention is in the present moment, I push the fear out of my mind. Fear is the concern over events that might happen in the future. I will not have enough money, my children will get into trouble. I will get old and die, whatever.
To combat fear, the best strategy I found is to bring my attention back to the present moment. It is no surprise that I have been through some difficult things in my life, some of which actually happened. By practice, I learned to keep my attention on the present moment, here and now!
Bal Thanedar is expressing a very common failing in that we all tend to be fixated on the past and obsessed about the future. Thus we all make the tragic mistake of not living fully in the present moment, and thus losing the ability to act from the source of courage, inspiration and true agency that is the present.
As Bal noted, by hanging on to prejudices, hurts and frustrations of the past, we give in to a habitual pattern of perpetuating past mistakes and wallowing in our sense of victimization. We also tend to obsess about our future prospects, about whether we will have enough money, health and happiness to sustain us in the future.
In these futile preoccupations, we lose the capacity to impact the present moment and thus mold our lives the way we want to. So instead of having the courage and faith to seize this present moment in which we are true artists, creators and inventors of our lives, we stagnate in unproductive and paralyzing memories and fears.
In fact, the only thing we can impact and change is this present moment. The present is the only time we have to exert our full force of personality, and to bring our unique talents and creativity to bear on life. Only the present is pregnant with the potentiality for realizing goodness, truth, justice and success.
To be honest to ourselves, we must comprehend that the present moment is all we have, and all we need, in order to be co-creators of our world. Only in this present moment is there the joy of creative action as well as infinite possibilities for transformation of ourselves and all of mankind.