Have you ever had a low point in life that seems amplified by similar situations from the past? Sometimes it can be as simple as a stressful day that has seemingly piled on top of previous stressful days. Other times it can be a bad situation that seems to be repeating itself.
When you’re feeling low, it is easy for that feeling to be magnified by bad experiences of the past. You want to put an end to it, but you don’t know how. Firstly, you should ask yourself how those past experiences manifested. You could come up with a very thorough and detailed answer (and yes perhaps some or all of them were contributing factors), but at a basic level unhappiness in your past was due to not being happy at a variety of present moments.
That’s what the past is – a bunch of present moments strung together with the word past labelled on top of them. Linear time is a misconception where emotions are concerned. Events that have long since come and gone can affect us in the here and now. They can affect our present and by logical progression, they can therefore affect our future.
We cannot change the past, nor the future…or can we? If our past is a bunch of present moments strung together, then it is important for us to deal with the present appropriately so that our past won’t become a string of upset, anxiety, dissatisfaction and regrets. If we are always taking care of our present, we begin to build ourselves a better past and by extension, our best possible future.
Living in each and every present requires willpower and discipline. I have practised this for a number of years now and even I am unable to always live in the present. But I know better than to expect changes overnight. You need to be wholly dedicated to your goals and recognise your efforts, big and small. Be kind to yourself.
You can learn to make the most of each moment through Mindfulness, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. By mentally noting every time you are not focusing on your immediate moment, you begin to build your experience and practice of providing yourself the best possible past, present and future. When you note that you are dwelling on the past or getting anxious over plans for the future, stop, take note and focus on your present experience of life. An easy way to bring yourself back to the current moment is by focusing on your five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Focus on each of these in turn and really try to engage with them whilst you go about your day.
Of course sometimes we have to plan for the future and we can learn very valuable lessons from the past, but we shouldn’t let the past or the future govern our lives. That’s when we can be prone to restricting our actions and experiences. That’s when we can act out of fear from what came before. That’s when we can act out of anxiety for what will be. Our time is now. We can make our lives the best that they can be, right now.
To close today’s post, I would like to draw on the words of Master Oogway. For those of you who have seen Kungfu Panda, yes I am drawing on the words of an animated kungfu master tortoise: “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, but Today is a gift. That is why it is called the Present”.
Today’s featured photo is of a watch that I bought from stealtimeback.com. Mindfulness watches and bracelets are sold on the site and they have a lovely blog too.