Monday, May 14, 2012

Live in the Present

Operating in the future is as destructive as focusing on the past but in different ways. When you allow yourself to anticipate what the future holds for you, you are likely to either expect problems that may not materialize or to set yourself up with expectations that may not be met. Either way, this is another waste of precious time and energy. A third consequence of thinking too much into the future is the likelihood that you will overwhelm yourself. If you begin, for example, to think of all the things you have to do, the pending workload will seem impossible to cope with. You will be tired before you begin. You may find yourself stuck and shoving chocolate, pasta or cookies into your mouth. Remind yourself to come back from the future into present time.

None of us can operate in present time at every moment. We probably spend 90% of our time in the past or the future. Begin to notice this in your own thought patterns. If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend you read the works of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who writes beautifully about being mindful and living in the present. The teachings of this gentle man guide us in the art of being in each moment and appreciating fully our experience here on earth. He advises us to focus on the present moment as often as possible, to breathe deeply and to smile.

If we don’t focus on the present and we allow our energy and attention to jump back and forth between past and future, we lose the present. In doing so, we miss opportunities to feel and experience our lives. This behavior keeps us eating, and eating even more, in an effort to feel satisfied and alive. Eating, of course, doesn’t help. If we are out of touch with our feelings and experiences in the present, we will continue the pattern of overeating. We will notice that time is passing by while we are sitting on the side lines observing life instead of living it. When you notice that you are in past or future time, remind yourself to be in the present. The past is gone and the future is not yet here to command your attention. You need all of your energy to be here now.

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