To quote one of our older spiritual laws, “You have never done anything yesterday or tomorrow.” Everything you have ever done, and will ever do, you do in the present moment. You’ll get far more out of life by living in the present moment then by worrying over the future or looking back on the past. But how exactly do you go about living that way? Most of us don’t do it naturally—and you may even feel like you can’t, like no matter how hard you try something always pulls you into dwelling in the past or future. Today, I want to share a few of the specific strategies that I personally use for making sure that I stay in the moment in my own daily life.
I like to think of the problem in three steps: Live, Love, and Learn. Let’s go through them one at a time.
The first step is to Live—and that means more than just being physically alive. I think all of us have a picture in our head of what it means to be alive without really living. For my part, I see that as not being in the moment, and as living in adrenaline-fueled reaction to fear, rather than in a state of peace fueled by passion and love for others. I believe that life should always be full of passion and should always find room for the people and projects that you are passionate about. Typically, your reasons for putting off those things will be all about the past or future—fearful rather than loving. Sure, there may be times when you have to focus on other tasks for a while, but when that becomes the rule rather than the exception, it’s usually a sign that something is off with your priorities.
Which brings us to the second step: Love. This is a really big topic, but when I’m using it as a reminder for my day, I mostly think of what I call “win/win/win.” I’m sure you all know the phrase “win/win,” which basically means a deal in which both parties profit. Win/win/win is just taking it one step further, making sure that EVERYBODY is not only better off, but as well off as they could possibly be under the circumstances. A win/win situation usually means a compromise between two extremes, but the best win/win/win solutions often come from rejecting these types of compromise and going to some extra trouble to find something even better.
You have to keep step 1 in mind here, too. Most of the time, what you really need from a win/win/win solution isn’t the same as what you want. What you really need may be something like Peace, or even to make sure someone else gets their best possible results. In other words, I find that the best personal outcomes come from giving up the personal outcomes that I might think I want in that moment. You’ve got to start prioritizing relationships over past or future circumstances.
Which brings us to the final step: Learn. In a lot of ways I think this ties back into step 1, since if you’re really making the most of life, it’s practically unavoidable that you’ll also be constantly learning. Part of prioritizing relationships is vulnerability and taking risks, so if you’re really doing this some mistakes are unavoidable. Some people might see that as a reason to be more cautious, but in reality learning, mistakes, and even pain are part of what keeps life fresh and vibrant. In fact, one of the main things researchers have found about diseases like Alzheimer’s is that your chances of getting them are much lower if you continue to actively learn and use your mind in new ways. Similarly, I’ve seen studies indicating that people who do nothing but play golf and watch TV after retirement tend to get sick and die, while those who continue working on their passions usually live much longer, and in better health.
But the real problem for most of us is not ignorance of the solution. It never hurts to remind ourselves of what’s most important, but many of us know this already—and simply find it impossible to follow through. You may consciously want nothing more than to follow through on those three steps, but your subconscious mind won’t let you because of some wrong belief, some unresolved trauma in the past that is dictating your actions. It may not even be your past! In many cases, these things are passed down from your parents, or even more distant ancestors.
I’ve spent the last 30 or so years of my life finding the right tools to resolve those sorts of issues, and many of these resources are available to you, right not, for free.
All I ask is that you use whatever you need and make the most of every day.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!