How to live at present and don’t let past and future haunt you?
Do you know that an individual’s thought process in one day is somewhere between 50000 to 70000 in count? Fascinating isn’t it? We do not even realize that so many events come across in our mind, which may be something related to past or might occur in the coming future. It could also be our fears, the most tragic scenario that we always hope never happen OR something so perfect that we always secretly hope should occur. Nobody wants misery, yet unconsciously invites it through negative thinking pattern.
Everyone is so caught up in his or her own thoughts that no one realizes that it is the present that needs our utmost attention and not those unnecessary trash that either already passed OR might never happen. Self realization is crucial so that one could take further measures to combat. But how do we do that, is a big question.
Before knowing what is to be done one must also learn what it exactly is – Living at present. It simply refers to not letting our thoughts dominate us. Our negative thoughts should be treated as mere ‘thoughts’ and there is nothing rational behind them. Dwelling on them is plainly stupidity because it leads to misery, quite not literally but yes in our own mind. If you think people in this world are evil is because this ‘evil’ exists in you. Do you think everyone is a hard core liar and/or thief and/or hypocrite? It is because most probably you also keep at least one of these traits. While you are reading this statement, do you know that it is not the only thing you have in mind right now but also other random thoughts? It is always something which goes in parallel but you not necessarily notice. You, like most people, do not have a good concentration which might also be affecting your daily performance, whoever you are – a student or a worker or a jobless jack.
Acceptance – Let it go
We must always learn to accept the things as they are. I am here talking about the past events or trauma that take so many years or even a lifetime to forget and forgive (or might never!) the people involved in whatever happened. I wouldn’t lecture somebody about this simply because everyone says so. There are a number of terrible things that could occur to anybody; and since I haven’t faced them I do not have any authority to lecture on ‘letting it go’. But yes, most psychologists and meditators, and even those who successfully conquered their fear and trauma, did this. It makes sense because these are all factual based.
Something happens, you got hurt but you have to move on. Whether or not you accept it, nothing is going to change. You cannot simply destroy your present and upcoming future events because some recorded events in your mind reappear every now and then. Being positive and happy changes our perspectives, the world and its people remain the same. Once you learn this you will notice a great change within you. And due to this very reason there comes a point when you stop hating people and feel nothing at all to even those who used to bother you so much.
Listening – No arguments or advice
If someone talks to you, whether it is related to their life-based issues or elaboration of an event that has already happened or yet to come, be entirely present and listen to them carefully. They might sound foolish to you or you might not be interested at all, due to several reasons, but this is how you practice being hundred percent present at the moment. The practice is all it takes.
Gratitude – Count your blessings
Start a habit of feeling the gratitude right before you sleep. It could be something that happened the same day or in general purpose. Sometimes the situations aren’t in our control and so we tend to get stressed out and anxious, thinking about the possible scenarios that might occur in the coming future. But this does not mean that we ignore some experiences that were actually pleasant.
Suppose you are not getting a job at all, despite of trying for over an year and so it is quite obvious that you get unhappy and frustrated most of the times. Your mind would make an imaginary world of the future where everyone is happily earning and you remain poor till eternity. Well, this imagery is nothing but your own brain which is messing with you. The situation has the tendency to change and a person has the ability to do that.
It could also be even worse. Someone you love gets expired suddenly or you are diagnosed with cancer. Life sometimes gets really tough to deal with and it becomes very difficult to count your blessings. There is a reason behind why we face certain issues or meet specific people, the mystery behind each moment untangles with time once we grow older and mature. But for now, you must consider that life and death is a universal law and nobody ever has escaped it, not even God’s avatars if you are a believer. Just like you miss someone now, someone else will miss you too once you die. It is OK to feel the loss. Let it flow.
As for cancer, it is treatable to those who do not reach the final stage but if you are standing in the position where there is no hope, live every moment you missed while you were too much involved in studying, earning, building a dwelling, etc. Live in the Now because no one knows what happens next. This could be anything like traveling around the world, partying every weekend, you name it! Do you realize that this ‘Now’ could always be embraced even if you were younger and healthier?
Many renowned cancer hospitals in the United States have the facility of meditation to enable the cancer patients coping up with their depression. The thing is – they stop caring whatever comes across their life, which in turn benefits them in the medical procedures. Even while encountering the most terrible things, say to yourself “This shall pass”. You might be knowing very little about meditation but the steps I have written are similar to meditation practice.
Focus on the Now and find beauty in something
Let’s suppose you are watching a sunset which is orange and round and looks terrific! Embrace its beauty, feel it at the moment. You are the master of everything; this means that you choose to control your own thoughts. Smell a flower, watch puppies playing, babies laughing hard, and so on. If you focus on these minute stuffs, you will find that these moments are worth a million.
If you are into some routine, don’t hurry like you always do. From now on focus on whatever you do, like cooking, eating, bathing, etc. You can taste every bite of the meal and feel good about it. Observe the world through a different lens. Watch people’s habits, the activities that occur in front of you.
There are two kinds of stress – Primary and Secondary
Let’s take the same example as above about being jobless. You are stressed and anxious because you didn’t get the job. This is the Primary stress. You do not like being stressed out and always hope things get better with time. This is the Secondary stress – being stressed out because of stress that happened at the first place; which is an endless loop.
Our mind is too involved in a consistent re-creation of the events so that it builds some kind of logic behind ‘what if’, whether those events have already passed or yet to occur. This is how fear and anxiety pop up because we don’t think rationally. Other than the situation, there is also another reason why we feel always scared or vulnerable – people’s judgments on you, that might be or might not be true. Yes, they do it ALL the time and you can hardly do anything about it. You cannot shut everyone’s mouth, so stop caring. This could only be accomplished if you focus on the present that’s in front of you, and not the false statements being spoken by random individuals who cannot imagine living their lives without speaking hurtful statements. Such people never achieve anything and won’t let you achieve as well if you start believing them, that’s what they want!
I think I have made it clear how you initiate the practice through above points. The thing is, you have to strictly follow them. It will take at least 90 strict days to set your mind that way, because it is a huge struggle to let it concentrate on just one thing; once you start nurturing it through different angle you will be able to get through further till you survive on this planet.
Also remember not to push yourself into preventing your thoughts because in that case the intensity grows even more. Simply observe them as they are (thoughts!) and let them pass like air! You may start this by not involving yourself whole day in thinking infinitely but to give those thoughts some time to flow like water and then say “Stop” after 15 minutes or half an hour. Set an alarm. It is perfectly OK to feel whatever you actually feel – anxious, fearful, hurt – but never let yourself dwell, that’s what I insist.