LIVING IN THE MOMENT

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um-060810-emailCan you ever REALLY live in the moment? Well, of course, the answer is that you can’t live anywhere else but the moment — except in your mind, where it can filter your experience of what’s happening now. This was made evident when I ran into someone I knew, and felt a wall go up which was certainly not of this moment, but probably born of how we felt about each other in the past that now filters into the present.

I stopped to think about why this happens, and here are the thoughts that came to me:

1. I’m making it up
2. If I experience a wall, the wall is mine
3. The person is a snob
4. They just don’t like me, resonate with me, or appreciate me
5. I remind them of unpleasant memories

Do any of those thoughts seem reasonable … reasonable meaning fair and sensible? Are there any remedies available so you can come into balance when you experience a moment of separation from another human being and feel distant? Let’s take the “reasonable” thoughts one at a time and discover what’s possible.

1. You’re making it up. Check it out or let it go. Every thought is your production. Come back to a “don’t know” state of mind. If you didn’t know this person, he or she would come in as a blank slate. If you were at a party together, you would either meet or not, talk or not, connect or not. No harm, no hurt feelings, no judgment. Nothing. You are not the same person you were 5 years ago or 5 minutes ago. Neither is anyone else. Come back to presence and connection, and see what you can discover now. Remember the greatest block to your progress isn’t ignorance; it’s the illusion of knowledge. The remedy: Pay attention. Be awake now rather than sleep in memories of the past.

2. If there’s a wall, it’s yours. Look more carefully at the wall. What is it constructed of? Your feelings? What are you feeling, what is it? When I explore my feelings around the creation of a wall, separation is usually at the core, to protect myself from something. What is that something? The truth, feedback, or maybe, it’s nothing at all. When I question the substance of the wall, the wall disappears, and I have the freedom to move. Walls hem you in as much as they keep others out. The remedy: it’s your choice to be around someone or not. Make the choice and leave the wall behind. The future and past meet in the choice you make now.

3. Snobbery! I had to look up the word snob. It means pretentious, condescending, and arrogant. I really couldn’t use those words to describe this person. More like a conservative republican! Well, I know quite a few conservative republicans that I love, so is someone a snob when you think they don’t like you, AND they have a different worldview? Calling someone names is limiting. It’s like trying to condense all of a person in one word, and once labeled, they are that classification into perpetuity. The remedy: understand that labels limit your ability to see someone as they are. Let the label go, what do you see now?

4. Someone doesn’t like you or appreciate you. Here I use the Buddhist tradition of unconditional love. Love does not require anything in return. It matters not whether someone likes you or not. Being loved is not required to be happy and free. Attachment is released and people can be who they are around you, and you can be who you are. Your job isn’t to change someone. The question is, can you be free and happy in this moment. Can you be yourself around anyone? When you’re not yourself, you are most likely assigning some meaning of importance to that person. It’s easy to see when you’re tongue-tied around a celebrity, but what about when you’re not yourself around your boss, an ex, or in a job interview. What importance are you giving their response? The remedy: let go of attachment to the outcome and be yourself.

5. Unpleasant memories. Have you ever noticed that when someone walks in the room that you have a history with, all of that history walks in with them, the good, the bad and the ugly? And what can be predominant, are bad endings that overshadow the good. So, how do you live in the moment on top of a history that has not been reconciled into grist for the mill? Bring to mind that whatever you’ve experienced up until now is useful, either in increasing your knowledge or ability to deal with what shows up day to day. Acceptance is key. Understanding the idea of impermanence is powerful. Relationships end. Stuff happens. Memories whether sweet or bitter, hold the past in place. Memories are like stories. They gain strength in repetition. The remedy: you have memories; don’t let them own you. Live in this moment.

These 5 remedies will bring you present to be awake to what’s possible now. They will give you peace of mind, and allow others to simply be themselves around you. Now I think of the person that started this self-inquiry, with a smile on my face.

My love goes with you as you work with this uplifting moment.

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