Asking yourself 'where am I now?' at intervals throughout your day in order to discover not so much where you are physically, but where you have gone in your mind, will begin to show you how frequently you are not present here and now.
When You’re Not in the Now.
This is a problem of phenomenal proportions when we pause to consider what happens when we are not in this now moment:
•we are concentrating on a problem or worry that is not part of what we
are actually doing now, and that therefore keeps us from being present
in what we are doing now
• we are reliving past pain and hurts that keep us from being present in what we are doing now
• we are reliving past moments of joy that keep us from being present in what we are doing now
• we are concentrating on future possibilities - good or bad - the thought of which keeps us from being present in what we are doing now.
All of these examples indicate that we have left the only place where we live, where we are, which is now.
Learn From Children.
Take a moment to recall your childhood. Especially the parts in your childhood when you were aware of time passing. Perhaps someone went on a trip and it seemed to you that they had been gone forever. My father had traveled to Europe on business when I was about seven and living in Canada. A friend of my parents came to pick me up in order that I could play with his young daughter. On the way to their house he asked me if I had heard from my father. I told him how much I missed him and that he had already been gone for about a year. The friend looked at me and said It's only been three weeks.
Of course at that age it meant little to me, but I always remembered the incident insomuch as it demonstrated to me as an adult, how malleable time is. As a child a mere three weeks seemed endless to me.
Time is Fluid.
Other examples you might resonate with are summer vacations. When they started, they seemed to stretch into delicious infinity. Sometimes just one single, solitary day seemed so long, so full of possibilities.
So fast forward to now. 2010. How long does a day seem? A week? A month? Even a year? Isn't it true that now they seem to pass in a flash? Monday comes, and as much as the work week may seem onerous, before you know it, it's Friday evening. January begins, and before you know it, it's Easter, then summer, fall, and Christmas is on us again.
What really causes this apparent speeding up of time?.
Without going into any kind of scientific or quantum explanation, I'd like to offer this: as children we live totally in the now. We pay attention to what we are doing while we are doing it. When we are on a swing, that is what we are involved with, with all our being. When we are building a sand castle on the beach and collecting shells, and pebbles, seaweed, and sticks to decorate it, we are involved with this creation with all our being. When we watch a movie or read a book, we are involved with this activity with all our being.
Not Being Involved in the Present Moment.
However, as adults we tend not to be involved with what we are doing, because we are off - in our minds - elsewhere. As illustrated earlier, we are worrying about something that may never take place, or reminiscing about something that already took place, or looking forward to something that will take place once such and such happens. All of these modes of thinking mean that we are not here and now. We are escaping the now moment, either because we don't like it, or because not being in the now moment has become such a habit, that we barely know how to remain there anymore.
When Do You Live Your Life?.
This is huge. If we are not in the now moment, I ask you, when do we live our life? Now is all we have, as Eckhart Tolle so aptly pointed out in his The Power of Now. And if now is all we have, does it not make sense that we learn - remember - how to remain present?
Hence the question at the beginning of this article. Get into the habit of querying yourself about where you are at this particular moment. And once you pull yourself back into it - even if it is while you are involved in an activity that gives you little stimulation or joy - attempt to remain present, to do whatever it is you are doing with a sense of awareness, and in order to determine whether you could - if you really put your mind to it - derive satisfaction even from this (whatever it is). More importantly, when you are involved in a pleasant activity, perhaps spending time with your partner or children, or out on the golf course, or bicycling through the neighbourhood, and you ask yourself the question, if you then also find that you are elsewhere inside, you will realize how monumentally important it is that you begin to be here now. Jon Kabat-Zinn's book about mindfulness Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life is excellent for further pointers, as is Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen: Love and Work, and also Tara Bennett-Goleman's Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart
I encourage you to explore your now. With some patience not only will you find unaccustomed joy, but you will add years to your life, simply because you will be so much more aware at so many more now moments that will allow you to stretch your existence, making it malleable and pliable, and resulting in a life of much greater proportions than what you are currently experiencing.
Dr. Kortsch holds a doctorate in psychology and dedicates herself to integral coaching, clinical hypnotherapy, relationship coaching, and energy techniques. She is an author and professional speaker and broadcasts a live weekly radio show in English that is available on the Internet or for listening on her website, and has appeared in numerous television programs in English and Spanish. She can help you move towards greater personal and relationship success with her integral approach to life and offers training and workshops in the field of self-development and choosing responsibility for the self. Visit Advanced Personal Therapy.com and sign up for her cutting-edge newsletter in English or Spanish, or visit her blog for more timely articles.