Memories are important. They help us tell our story, both to others and to ourselves.Memories help us to escape harm by telling us to avoid repeating past mistakes that have given us pain. Our past also helps us to plan for the future. By knowing what happened yesterday, we can often predict what might happen tomorrow. We can anticipate joy, but we can also anticipate stress, pain and turmoil. In this way we are fantastic time-travelers.While this ability is one of our greatest strengths, it can also become a grave weakness.
Spending too much time in “yesterday” or in “tomorrow” keeps us from being in the oneplace where we truly are: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. We can get seriously stuck in our pains of yesterday or trapped in terrifying scenarios about our future selves. All of this keeps us from being here and now. All of this leads us to suffering that’s not actually here right now. So what do we do?
This is a tremendous skill and must be practiced, just like a marathon runner must start by learning how to walk. Fortunately, every single moment is full of opportunity. All it takes is for us to notice where we are: here, right now.
1. Feel your feet touching the ground, supporting you.
2. Notice the colors you see, sounds you hear, odors you smell, the sensations you feel/what you’re touching or what’s touching you, the flavors you taste.
3. Don’t fight the time traveler. Simply notice that your mind is in the past or the future and remind yourself that it’s all happening right now.
Think about how silly someone would be if they were worried about the car accident they“might” get into in 5 years! It’s incomprehensible. Practicing being present is what can help us avoid disasters of tomorrow or enhance all the wonderful things to come. Either way,the choice is yours… today.