Living in the now is being still

Living in the now is being still

“All things happen for a reason” – I see this as an accepting statement.

If we accept and understand all things happen for a reason then there should be no stress.

It seems to me logically that if all things happen for a reason then we must be exactly where we are meant to be.

If we are exactly where we are meant to be, what’s the problem?

How can we be selective? The good and the not so good all have purpose. That we know the purpose may not be that important. That we accept “all things” may be the only lesson.

This week at work, yes I am working the 9to5, again, I was telling Joseph about something that happened 12 years ago and how I found it very upsetting, at the time.

The response I got from Joseph was “You can’t live in the past”.

I was somewhat taken back and at the same time wanted to laugh as I tried to imagine that. Here right now I am standing in front of Joseph – so how can I possibly be living in the past?

The more I considered the whole idea of living in the past the more I wanted to laugh and laugh and laugh. So I had to walk away after a brief response to Joseph, which was that it was a trigger to my past that was all it was.

Something in the now can create a trigger to a memory. My concept of being in the now is simply to allow what is happening now to happen now. Don’t be attaching random thoughts to any moment in time – just allow a moment to stop thinking and observe the now. Be aware of the present moment for what it is.

Moments don’t eliminate other moments. I take notice of now, be in peace now. Do what I am doing now and when I have nothing to do, do nothing, be still, it is a nice place to be, it does not cost anything to get there! It’s free.

As a growth in awareness happens I see the now for what it is yet past triggers will attempt and do win still in dragging me back into past responses and therefore behaviour. Those past memories exist and I acknowledge them in the now. If they make me uncomfortable I note that. If they produce anxiety now than that is what they do.

The rest is up to me “now” to recognise and consider. In considering I ask, is this the same threat as the past one, do I need to protect or nurture myself? This is just a basis survival instinct and we should all observe the times when we need to look after ourselves to survive.

Remembering that trying to rid ourselves of our pasts includes all the memories we have and hold and many are treasured memories. I don’t want to wipe out my past, most of it I really liked. For the moments in the past that I did not like I still remember them and further to that those moments have shaped this moment so I am not scared of them.

If I get a reaction from them and I do, that is something that has happened for a reason. It is all linked and if we just allow that, be with it, be it, without the belief of this concept that “living in the past” is something to be avoided at all cost. I say it is impossible anyway – it is a cliché gone wrong.

Do we want to forget the moment our children were born, bringing them home, patting those tidy little babies as they nod off to sleep, do we really want to stop the memories. Memories are but moments in the past, we cannot possibly go back there; our babies grow as we do. We are who we are today because of our past.

I do understand that the phrase “don’t live in the past” was created to help people understand that they had to let go of things. But is has perhaps evolved as a catch all for everything – yesterday was the past so we have to forget that. Perhaps we behaved badly yesterday and as it is in the past all is forgotten. That we may continue to behave badly today means to some, it’s ok because tomorrow it will be in the past and I must forget the past. That nothing is learned from the past is becoming extremely sad to me. It is indeed like cutting down all the trees without any awareness that the past has shown this is not the best way forward.

The moment that triggered my memory and reaction to that, which I shared with Joseph, helped me enormously a few days later. Millie, a friend, encouraged me to apply for another job; there was a last minute opportunity to apply. I did and found it easy if not enjoyable as I was able to use the example that my trigger opened my memory onto. If I had not had that recent trigger I would not have used that example and that example proved to be the best. Once I had written it into the job application I sat back and said ‘Thanks.’ I said thanks to myself, because I live in the now.

My past is my book, about my life and a trigger opens a page to be observed again for a moment and that moment is in the now as it happens.

I can’t jump into the book, I can’t re-write or edit. I can however look at it, read it, understand it or not. Make decisions and be aware of how it still may affect me, all that happens in the now. Not in the past it is now. It cannot be anything else.

This leads me into the obvious next latest cliché made popular by Eckhart Tolle in the famous book he wrote “The Power of Now”. My daughter gave me the book as a gift many years ago. I loved it then and I love it now as well. Further to loving the book I really do like Eckhart Tolle and where the fame has taken him. It has taken him nowhere. He is still the man who one day woke up and realized that he was creating his own suffering.

The joy that shines from Echhart Tolle now is solid and true. It is visible without any effort on his part. Not manufactured, learnt or practiced.

Clearly this is a man not affected by fame in the usual way. Looking at some of his U-tube chats showcases to me the joy the man has which comes from within him and his complete acceptance and understanding of that fact.

However, as people do, there has been nothing short of bandwagon’s of people preaching about living in the now who clearly have no idea what that really means, as much as I am certain they want to understand.

It seems to me that it is quickly producing societies who believe that they can only do so much in a day and anything else – well it just does not get done. I need to tick so many boxes right now to get to now to be in the now. Nothing else matters but now. This is completely illogical.

I think there is much misinterpretation of “being in the now”. People seem to have stopped thinking about the future and certainly don’t want to “live in the past” – so they are stuck somewhere.

Where they are stuck is not proving very supportive for them either, they are doing the whole “now” thing, and at great speed with so much that can be done now busy busy times, keeping busy.

I am not observing a whole lot of peace around me. I see no depth, no contentment and no intent behind what is being done and what is being said.

It’s a rush to the next thing and it almost seems that it does not matter what the next thing is, as long as the next thing is a new thing and that is the new now which of course by default it is. As if a new now will somehow make everything better, which of course it can’t.

Living in the now is accepting what is, bubbling with joy from the inside, at ease with thoughts which are not meant to be held and worked over, letting all the thoughts that cause, create and feed pain into and around emotions and feelings pass us by. Living in the now is being still.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2016

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