Chapter 4: Live, right now!
All you have is the present.
A measure of our mental peace
and personal effectiveness is reflected in our ability
to live in the present moment.
Now is where you are,
no matter what happened yesterday
and what will happen tomorrow.
From this point of view,
the key to happiness and fulfillment is
to focus our minds at the present time!
One great thing about children is
that they are completely immersed in the present moment.
They try to focus completely on
what they’re doing whether it’s looking at a bug,
painting a picture
or building a castle in the sand,
whatever they want
to put all their energy into.
As adults, many of us learn the art of thinking
and worrying about multiple things at once.
We let concerns about the past
and the future get in the way of the present
and make us miserable and incompetent.
We also learn to postpone the enjoyment
of joy and happiness
and to think that someday in the future,
things will be better than now.
A high school student thinks
“When I get out of school
and don’t have to listen to anyone else,
everything will be great!”
He left school and suddenly realized
that he wasn’t happy until he left home.
He moved away from home to go to college
and decided again,
“I’ll be really happy
when I get my degree
and think I’ll be happy only by getting a job.
He has a job and has to work
under the supervision of many people.
You can also guess that he can’t be happy yet.
Years went by,
he put off relaxing
and enjoying happiness
until he got engaged,
and started buying a house,
got a better job,
started having kids,
sent his kids to school,
the kids graduated from school and so on retired….
and he died before he knew what happiness was.
All the time he has, he spends planning
for the good future that never comes.
Do you relate to any part of the story above?
Do you know anyone
who put off enjoying joy until old age?
It is important to be happy
that you are fully present in the present.
We enjoy the whole trip,
not just when we reach the destination.
Similarly, we may refuse to spend time with those we love.
A recent study in the United States was conducted
to find out how much time middle-class fathers spend playing
with their young children.
They wear microphones on fathers’ collars to know
how long they talk to their children each day.
Research shows that most spend about 37 minutes a day with their children.
No doubt a lot of other dads plan
to spend time with their loved ones “when the work is done”,
“when the pressure is gone”,
“when there is more money”….
The important thing is that none of us are guaranteed
to be alive tomorrow.
We only have today.
Living in the present also means that we enjoy whatever we are doing,
not the result.
If you’re painting your porch,
you can enjoy every brushstroke,
enjoy learning how to do the best job,
while enjoying the cool breeze caressing your face
and the birds chirping in the trees
and whatever else happens around you.
Living in the present is about expanding your understanding
to make the present moment more precious than being closed all the time.
Each of us has our choice,
at one time or another,
that we live and absorb,
allowing ourselves to be emotional and engaging.
When we live in the present moment,
we banish fear.
Apparently this fear is concern with events
that might happen sometime in the future.
This concern can be crippling
when we think we can’t do something.
However, you can only be attacked by fear
when you are passive.
The very moment you take action,
actually do something, the fear will disappear.
Living in the present moment means acting
without fear of consequences.
It is the dedication of one’s efforts to the commitment
without worrying about whether
or not one will get the reward it deserves.
It should be remembered
that we cannot replace something with zero.
If you are worried because your car breaks down,
you lose your job,
or your wife leaves you,
it is not easy to clear your mind
and find peace.
The best way to improve mental state is to take action,
get involved in something.
Let’s do something! Anything.
Call an old friend or make a new one,
go to the gym,
take care of the kids or help the neighbors…..
Time doesn’t really exist,
it’s just an abstract concept in your head.
The present is the only time you have.
Let’s do something now!
Mark Twain once remarked
that he has experienced terrible things in his life,
some of which are truly terrible!
Is that true?
We tend to think bad, pessimistic thoughts.
If you look at the present moment,
it’s no big deal!
Let’s live right now
Have you ever noticed that
when you wait for something,
it never seems to happen?
That’s why there is a saying “One day waits for a hundred years”.
Likewise when we wait for someone’s phone,
Wait for hours and get bored,
you decide to do something
and that’s it, ring!
The phone bell rings.
When we wait for mail,
for exciting adventures,
for dining out,
time doesn’t seem to pass.
Even what we expected did not come.
There is a working principle
that says “Live your life in the present moment
and don’t hold your breath
and wait for something else to happen”.
If we say “I must have “A” to be happy and fulfilled”,
then different circumstances can arrange
to prove the opposite.
Take every opportunity.
Live for the present.
Do something else while waiting for something to happen.
If you want Hollywood to discover your super-talent
then take a hands-on knitting class first!
If your boyfriend is late,
read the newspaper or bake a cake,
do something until he arrives.
By doing so, you will not depend on the end result
“Forget about the situation, there will be results soon.”
Deciding to forgive yourself
or someone else is agreeing to live in the moment
“I can’t forgive myself (for my mother) for that!”
What do you think about that sentence?
If we refuse to forgive someone, we say, ”
Instead of doing something
to change the situation,
I would rather live in the past
and rather blame me (or the person) for it”.
When we are unforgiving of ourselves,
we carry a constant guilt,
which can cause us mental anguish.
Many people cling to the past,
They think they will never forgive their parents
because they are naughty,
that it is their parents’ fault.
It’s their fault!
If we keep blaming, we will suffer.
Half the time “the person at fault” has no idea what we’re thinking.
They go on happy while we suffer.
If I don’t forgive my brother-in-law
for not inviting me to the Christmas party,
then I suffer, not him.
He has no cancer,
We should “forgive even those who offend us!”
Only then can we be healthy and happy.
Unforgiveness is the biggest cause of sickness
because when the mind is sick,
the body is sick.
Furthermore, as long as we blame others,
forcing them to feel guilty
and responsible for our happiness,
we deny ourselves responsibility.
Accusing someone never solves anything.
As long as we stop doing so,
we will have the opportunity to take action to make things better.
Accusation is an excuse to do nothing
– to deny reality.
Fred can say
“I forgive you, but I can’t forget”.
Fred is actually saying
“I forgive you a little bit,
but I want to keep a part of
it so I can remind you later”.
Forgiveness is actually forgetting completely.
I believe it’s paramount
to realize that I’m living my life the best way I can.
We make a lot of mistakes,
maybe because of misunderstanding,
maybe because of stupidity,
but we are trying to do the best we know how.
No one is born with their eyes open and thinks ”
Great! This is a good chance for me to come out and fight!”
Our parents raised us the best they could.
Based on the information they have,
the examples they follow,
they venture into the unfamiliar territory of “parenthood”.
Blaming them all the time
because they are not model parents is useless and harmful.
Some people do not forgive their parents
and live miserable lives to show their parents
that they have not done a good job!
Their message was
“It was my parents to blame for me being poor,
and now you can see how I’m suffering!”
Don’t blame anyone.
What is past is over.
Grief and blame won’t change anything.
When we forgive,
another wonderful principle comes into play.
We change and others change too.
When we change our attitude towards others,
they also change our behavior.
Thus, When we change our way of thinking,
others will meet our changed expectations.
If it’s hard to forgive others,
it’s even harder to forgive yourself.
Many people torture themselves mentally
and physically all their lives
because of their shortcomings.
They eat a lot or fast,
drink to forget everything,
ruin all their relationships
or live a poor or sick life.
Their belief system says “I’ve done bad things,”
“I’m at fault,”
or “I don’t deserve to be happy and healthy.”
You may be surprised but there are many sick people
who think the same way!
Do you feel guilty?
How long will you feel like this?
Will a year or two make any difference?
Let go of this feeling,
It’s not easy.
Keeping the mind healthy is as difficult as keeping the body healthy.
Blaming and feeling guilty are equally dangerous and harmful.
When we blame God,
we avoid taking action to solve the problem.
It is we who choose to live in the present
or to bind ourselves to the aversions
and resentments of the past.