Present – What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of this word?
The present (time/moment) is the most valuable present (gift) we have in this life. The past doesn’t exist any longer – it’s nothing but memory saved in our brain. The future is not born yet – it’s an idea, a concept sketched in our mind.
The past only exists in our memory; it’s a picture that reminds us of a past time. Think about it! Does the past really exist? It existed, and at the time it existed it was a present. You lived “the past” when you were present in it. Now you live in the present, therefore past is just a memory, a picture that can’t be changed.
The future is an image created by our minds. Does the future exist? No, not yet – we only hope for it! Do you know what’s in your future? No, you don’t – you can only imagine what it could be. But the more you think, the more options there are, therefore you only have options for potential future, but never the guarantee of a certain image. We live in a constant present! Eckhart Tolle explains this in detail in his book The Power of Now and gives a very in-depth insight into this subject. I love this book and recommend it with all my heart.
Everything we do is firstly created in your mind. You want to go into the kitchen, your mind puts on a display of your kitchen because you have that in your memory. If you want to go for a walk, a memory of you walking would flash on the screen of your mind which triggers your next move. Most of the actions we do on a daily basis have a corresponding memory that our brain uses to put us in motion. Our mind works in pictures, which most of the time are picked from our memory.
When we have a “problem” that needs a fix, we start looking for solutions through the images we hold in our mind, but the actual problem is that we’re not looking for a new solution, but for an existing one, which probably created the “problem” in the first place. If we want to create a solution, we have to harness new pictures to add to the image of our potential future. The biggest problem, though, is that while our mind is constantly shifting from memories of the past to sketches of the future, we miss the only important thing that exists – the present. We live in a constant loop where we use past memories to create a potential future and we miss the only opportunity to live and fix the problem.
Albert Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. You probably heard sayings like “history repeats” and that is because we use the same thinking and that only leads to a loop. To get out of this loop requires creating new thinking, new ideas, new images to give our mind to put in motion a different path, and the way to do this is by taking control of your present by becoming aware of it, by living in the present.
I recently heard that the strongest man on the planet, managed to lift 1 tonne, that’s 1000 kg (2205 lb). He didn’t do this on his first try, he practiced. He started by lifting smaller weights and his muscles grew stronger and stronger. Our brain is a muscle too and can be trained the same way as our body muscles – through practice. A study made on London Taxi Drivers shows that the part of the brain that deals with orientation (hippocampus) was considerably larger compared to an average human being due to the fact it was exercised almost daily. The same way we work out our brains to achieve awareness.
There is a simple exercise, called meditation, which practiced regularly helps our brain evolve into the tool we need to create the images we want for our future. This exercise also helps us pause when taking a decision rather than letting the mind to react and make the decisions for us. We, then, can own the moment, can live in the present, in the creative mind, and choose voluntarily the path we want to take to achieve the goal of success.
It’s no good to have a vision of the goal we want to achieve if we let our brains take the decisions for ourselves and steer us in a different direction. If we want riches and we hold pictures of riches in our mind and we think we can achieve them, but we allow our brain to control our actions, and then we wonder why it doesn’t manifest in our life – it’s always this constant “tennis match”. The way to take full control of our future is by taking control of our present and we do this through the practice of meditation.
If you’ve never done this before, here is how you do it: go to a quiet place/room and sit comfortably. Take a deep breath in, count to 3, and then breathe out and count to 3 again. Do this 3 to 5 times until you feel fully relaxed. This helps your body relax and you can actually do this exercise whenever you feel agitated, nervous, or anxious. Close your eyes and relax all the muscles in your body. With your mind scan your whole body from scalp to toes and feel all your body relaxed. Feel your scalp relaxing, move the feeling to your face, down to your throat, your neck, your shoulders, arms, hands, move your feeling to your chest and back, feel them relaxing, your abdomen relaxing, thighs, your calves, feet and all the way to your toes. Feel all your body relaxed. By doing this you become aware of your body, yourself, and the present.
Once you’re completely relaxed, focus on the area above your upper lip where you can feel your breathing through your nose. Can you feel the warmth coming out of your nose? Good! Focus on that. Keep focusing on your breath for 5 – 10 minutes. While doing this, you will notice images of your thoughts coming to mind, that means you lost focus, so go back to your breath and focus on that… this is the exercise. Ignore all thoughts and focus on the present… on your breath. You’ll probably struggle a bit in the beginning, but that’s normal, so keep on shifting your focus back to your breath. The whole idea is to observe and ignore the images in your mind and focus on the present. Do this every day to gain full control and you will be able to become aware of the present at any time of the day. Something that will help you very much with this exercise is hydrating your brain. Before you start doing this exercise drink a glass of water.
The more you practice this, the easier it will be for you to be in the present, to think of your next move, to respond consciously to daily challenges instead of reacting emotionally, and allow your past experiences to dictate your future. Gaining control of your present means having control over your future. You can decide consciously your next move, you can choose how you respond and direct the actions towards the future you want to create.
Thank you for reading.
Love and peace!