Saturday, April 23

Time Doesn't Exist: All We Have Is The Present Moment

Wealthy Times

Once upon a time I published several mail order magazines, one being Wealthy Times. I did this for about ten years, initially part time and later full time. I then decided to move on to other things when I sensed that the Internet would take over from publishing. Anyway, today's post is an article I published in Wealthy Times back in 1997. Something happened yesterday to remind me of this.

All you have is now. The measure of our peace of mind and the measure of our personal effectiveness are determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment.

Regardless of what happened yesterday, and what happened today, now is where you are. From this point of view, the key to happiness and contentment must be focusing on the present moment.

One of the beautiful things about children is that they absorb themselves totally in the present moment. They manage to stay involved in whatever they are doing, whether that be watching a beetle, drawing a picture, building a sandcastle or wherever they choose to devote their energies.

As we become adults, many of us learn the art of worrying about several things at once. We can allow past problems and future concerns to crowd into our present so that we become miserable and ineffective.

We also learn to postpone our pleasures and our happiness, often developing a notion that sometime in the future everything will be much better than it is now.

The High School student thinks, "When I'm out of school and don't have to do what I'm told, everything will be great!" He leaves school and recognises that he won't be happy until he has left home.

He leaves home and starts University and soon decides, "When I have got my degree, then I'll be really happy!" Eventually he gets his degree at which time he realises he can't be happy until he has a job.

He gets a job and has to start at the bottom of the heap. You guessed it, he can't be happy yet.

As the years roll by he postpones his happiness and peace of mind until he gets engaged, gets married, starts buying a home, gets a better job, starts a family, gets the kids in school, owns his home, gets the kids out of school, retires ... and he drops dead before he allows himself to be blissfully happy. All his present moments were spent planning for a wonderful future which never arrived.

Living in the now is about expanding our awareness to make the current moment more delicious, rather than shutting off. Each of us has the choice, moment to moment, as to whether we really live and absorb and allow ourselves to be touched and affected.

Whenever we are living in the present moment, we drive fear away from our mind. Essentially fear is the concern over events which might not happen sometime in the future. This concern is paralysing to the point where we find it almost impossible to do anything constructive.

However, you are only open to intense fear when you are being inactive. The minute you start to take action and actually do something fear subsides. Living in the now is about taking action without fear of the consequences. It is about putting in our effort for the sake of the involvement, without worry as to whether we will get our just rewards.

Time doesn't really exist, except as an abstract concept in your head. The present moment is the only time you have. Make something of the moment!

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  1. Mike, I have thoroughly enjoyed this piece. Well-written and wise, it makes me wonder if our love of the past has to do with our ability to truly live in the "now". Perhaps we are able to look back without the fear and worry that comes with looking too far into the future.

    1. That's interesting, Ann, I hadn't looked at it like that before. Also, I suppose, as we get older there is a sense that we shouldn't waste our time, as it is so precious - we are therefore more likely to enjoy the moment.

  2. It really is true being happy is at the moment being
    content,and worry free.
    What a great essay!

    1. Thank you. To live in the moment is probably sometimes easier said than done - if, for example, we have worries or concerns. But so many worries never materialise.

  3. Mike,
    I have read this text and I have also read several other variations on this theme before. They are a true representation of my own life, never living the present because of the necessity to prepare the future. I have had a very active professionnal life and I enjoyed it. I always had the feeling that I was climbing a mountain, always looking at the top above me.
    But at the age of retirement, when you reach the top, you suddently see the bottom of the valley on the other side, and that is something you cannot explain to someone who hasn't got there yet. And now I have an incurable illness which gets worse every day. I have no future to care about any more, and my present is a constant physical pain from morning to night.
    I believe that a person always dies twice.
    The first death is mental, psychological, spiritual or whatever you call it. It's when you start rushing down the hill on the other side of the mountain. I'm through with that one now.
    The second death is the "real" one, when you actually hit the bottom.
    In between, there is no present.

    1. Thank you Laurent. I have sent a reply via Google+