August 19, 2012

The Golden Present

Young people live in the future.
Old people live in the past.
Wise people live in the present.
 - Anonymous


I randomly stumbled upon this quote about five days ago. Ironically, I have thought about this quote quite a bit since then, which - I suppose - means that I am living a bit in the past.

Go figure.

I find that, most of the time, I am battling against my propensity to dwell on time gone by, or incessantly plan for those yet to come.  But - let's not get sidetracked - regardless of my own thought patterns, the quote above seems (to me, at least) to echo a great truth.

Living in the present moment can be hard.

For a multitude of various reasons, we might all want to escape our present.  Perhaps it is diverting to focus on the warm and fuzzy memories of your past.  Perhaps I find it calming to plan for things that won't yet happen for another six months (or, in some cases, six years).  Perhaps, by expending our energies on the past and the present we are momentarily set free from the things in the present moment that we might much prefer to ignore.  Perhaps, the past and the future are (at times) misused to distract us from the pain, the hurt, the anger, and the depression of the here and the now.

But, therefore, doesn't that also mean that we run the risk of missing the abundant joy, the surreal happiness, the holistic peace that is also the present?!


In fact, one of the true sources of both happiness and health is the ability to inhabit the present moment...not just to exist in it, but to BE in it.  

For, as we all know, "reality only exists right now - it's as close and accessible as our breath - and this awareness heals suffering caused by past regrets or future fears."  As Eckhart Toole has said:
Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.  Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are cause by too much past, and not enough presence. 

Remove the old garment which no longer suites you
and step bravely into the new one - 
weaved from an awareness
gained after years of struggle and pain.
Do not lose site of who you are
in that quiet space - where only reality exists.
You've paid a high price to get here - 
no sense in giving it all back.
Your life is here and now.
Be present for it.
Live it wisely.

Nirmala Devi 

While at the ashram receiving my yoga teacher certification, I was gifted with Swami Satchidananda's book entitled "The Golden Present."  Filled with daily readings from Swamiji's lectures and talks, this books offers up a variety of teachings on how to serve others and realize peace, truth, and unity.  I read it almost every day (some day's I forget...oops!); and although I have a long way to go before learning its lessons, it has certainly been a helpful tool along the journey.

I will leave you with today's excerpt from "The Golden Present":

August 19: The Simple and Practical Way to Find Peace

Anytime anyone complains of worry, anxiety, depression, fear, hatred, jealousy - whatever it is - let him sit back and analyze the cause.  If he is really sincere, he will find out that he wanted something for himself.  Selfish desire causes all the problems.  Do things for the sake of others, not for yourself.  That is the simple and practical way to find peace.

Question of the Day:

Do you feel like you live in the past, present, or future?  What can you do to help make you even more PRESENT in your own life?

Ally and Bo

1 comment:

  1. This is a deep one isn't it? But oh so true. I think Swamiji's statement is so fundamentally true. It is only a road for few ....who can be that truthful with oneself. One has really got to want to 'see' the truth. And of course that is the first step. I am also finding that the Holy Spirit, when we're ready ,leads us into these truths, and then wonderfully if we continue in communion/fellowship...He provides us with His Grace and Love to dispel of these negative energies that keep us from the elusive PEACE