Living in the “NOW” – Sounds great, but can I do it?
For years I have read books that deal with the concept of living in the NOW. In almost every case to do so is a key to happiness. This caused a dilemma for me since living in the NOW was impossible for me to accomplish. I had to either determine I could never be happy or make the bold decision that the advice itself may not be for everyone, at least, not for me or may need a little tuning in what we think the NOW is.
First, a little history – mankind would not have survived if we had always lived in the NOW since the beginning of time. If we actually found bliss by sitting cross-legged outside our cave appreciating life while contemplating the beauty of the present moment, rest assured, some hungry tiger would have had a meal fit for a king. We had to always be on our toes, think about our immediate surroundings, and be one step into the immediate future to avoid other animals, including humans, from being their prey.
Even if we no longer need to fear for our life every moment in modern society, living in the NOW for me still needs an adjustment. By its common definition we seem to not be able to pull it off, and by we, I mean me.
So why have so many addressed this issue as a mandatory way to experience bliss in life? Is it because they think if our minds wonder off into future thoughts we cannot enjoy the moment we are presently experiencing? That would be true if our “monkey brains” were only thinking negative thoughts and spiraling downwards till we hate ourselves. This does happen to me sometimes and when it does, I do not stay in that present state, I shift to a more pleasant future.
Evolution has proven over and over again that change happens and that change, even with its bumps and backsliding, leads to a better state.
The concept of living in the NOW, did not really materialize until Richard Alpert, better known as Ram Dass, wrote his book Be Here Now. For the record, Ram Dass was on my show and I can unequivocally state that he is a truly wonderful and insightful man and I know his work has helped so many. In fact, I joked with him on the program about my inability to live in the NOW and he laughed along with me. And, this may sound truly strange, but I got the sense that by the NOW he too meant the immediate millisecond of the next moment.
But think about this for a moment. If the concept of life in the NOW is less than 40 years old, yet our body and brain’s cells have been living in the immediate future since the beginning of our existence, maybe it is time to shift that perspective, at least for NOW.
Plus, get a new perspective on stress. Check out my conversation with Dr. Kelly McGonigal about her book The Upside of Stress on most of our PBS stations.
Have a great week,
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