Living in the now is a lot like hitting the sweet spot on a golf ball. It requires focus, connection with the specific and foreclosure of everything else, particularly yesterday's failures and tomorrow's plans.
When the golfer gets into the flow with all his or her senses, skills, discipline, and concentration, and then swings the club, the sweet spot is a clear target. Likewise, when you concentrate on the road while drivingand nothing else; when you stop to take a phone call from a friend, listening attentively and speaking uninterruptedly; when you look your boss in the eye without fear or anger and courteously request a raise, you're living in the now.
One of the best ways to learn to live in the now is to regularly sequester yourself in quiet to meditate, contemplate or pray. To sit without any agenda and simply listen and feel, allows you to connect with your inner selfthat genuine spark of life that exists within everyone that is who we really are and from whom we frequently run. Turn control loose and allow the good, the bad and the ugly to flow through as it will. Be open to insights about your self so you can develop a loving relationship with your self. This is a pre-requisite to living in the now and improving your relationships with others.
One way to advance your relationship with self is journaling, writing down your fears and heart's desires. This empowers the self, renders our fears impotent and enables our desires. Self grows, too, as you stop trying to control everything, risking vulnerability instead.
The result can be a richer life filled with more frequent heart-to-heart talks with others; instances of synchronicity; and the return of your prodigal intuition. You'll begin to realize that you really don't know a damn thing and have not a whit of angst about it, and, ironically, you'll discover that you have more questions propelled by pure curiosity, which don't demand bottom-line, concrete answers.
Living in the now removes the blinders from your senses, too. You'll enjoy the afternoon light caressing the still-stretching wisteria vine in a new way. You'll salivate at the fused aroma of the fresh strawberries and sliced red onion on your salad. The trickle of the rain plopping down onto the scarred concrete will hold your total attention. Even good whiskey seems to taste better.
Living in the now means you'll lose interest in grappling with "stuff," trying to fill your life with "meaning." Busy-ness for busy-ness' sake will seem silly. Everything but the genuine will appear an obsolete stage play with a lot of bad acting, and you simply will not buy a ticket to that production.
In your self, living in the now is the only real living you'll ever do.
TIPS FOR: Living in the Now
• Do not read or turn on the TV for an entire daynothing. Yes, it can be done.
• Lie down in the grass and watch nothing but the clouds for 10 minutes. Name them people or things.
• For five minutes, sit silently with your eyes closed, and notice each part of your body, beginning with your toes and moving up to the top of your head. Stretch.
• Host or attend a wine tasting.
• Experience Zazen meditation at the Jackson Zen Buddhist Dojo. (Contact Elizabeth "Bebe" Wolf at 601-982-0402 to arrange the visit.)
• Walk for 20 minutes without headphones. Count the birds you see and try to identify them.
• Take a week's news fastno watching, reading, listening or blogging.
• Assess your financial situation. Write a list of all you own and all you owe.
• Purchase Play Doh at the dollar store. Spend an hour making something with it.
• Do not express your opinion to anyone for an entire day. Just listen intently to others without opining.
Living in the now, much like other states of awareness, is a journey unto itself.
It is true that living in the now will ultimately free you from trying to grapple with "stuff" and trying to fill you life with "meaning". However, one should not mistake that one will no longer manipulate stuff and discover meaning.
The freedom that flows from living in the now springs from acceptance and not denial. One of the greatest pitfalls of this path is self-denial rather than self-acceptance.
Good article. A difficult subject to tackle in so few words (when not using haiku or koan). :)
- daniel johnson
Thanks, Daniel, for the feedback.
I agree with the notion that the freedom that flows from living in the now springs from acceptance, not denial.
Wish I had that quote from you for the article. Jackie
Here's a marvelous video from Eckhardt Tolle, author of "Living in the Now," which I highly recommend for anyone looking to learn more.
a tidbit that had profound implications for my thinking was learning that the Tibetan word which is often translated as Emptiness is actually best translated as Openness.
That which everything springs from is Openness.
- daniel johnson
That makes sense, daniel. One can hardly be open if you're already filled up (not empty), which also implies "closed."
I would also point to the concept of "beginner's mind," and the space where all is new; i.e., if you already know how it should be, there's no space for a new thing to appear.