What does the word “now” mean to you? What sort of power does it hold? Is it anticipatory or perhaps threatening, or does it convey a sense of the inevitable? With all of the possibilities inherent in this small word, how many of us can say, honestly, that we are consciously aware of the present moment rather than focusing on the Next Thing?
“All we have is now” is one of my favorite quotes. For me, it suggests that limitless potential lies in the simple place of mindfulness. Having said that, though, are we not all prone to an obsession with what is to come, be it the weekend….summer….quitting time…? We tend to place a sense of security on something not even arrived. In other words, “there” is somehow more attractive than “here.” While it’s of course part of the human condition to reach, how often do we live in this alternate reality of what is to come, rather than living in the moment? This concept, while not new to me, became particularly poignant during this past Memorial Day weekend. I was excited about the prospect of two days off…in a row…and I giddily set my sights on how I would spend the time. However, instead of reveling in my book and my cup of coffee, I felt oddly restless knowing that my to-do list has a mind of its own and expands accordingly, and, the weekend would be over in a matter of hours. I could not allow myself (or perhaps did not know how) to enjoy the release of being unplugged. The Next Thing took precedence.
What, then, is the answer? How does one step off the treadmill of the mind? I suppose with the simple realization that the present moment—now—perhaps holds within itself an element of magic, a sense that anything is possible, a notion that the universe expands from this point forward. Maybe mindfulness contains the creative spark that inspired Edison, Tesla, Bell or Darwin…if you let your mind rest on this for a while, it feels scary and exhilarating all at once, but inspiring most of all, and who doesn’t need that every now and then?
June 18, 2017