UpBeat Spiritual Living: Being Present to the Present of the Present
© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved
Life itself is the greatest Divine gift to us. How much and how deeply we receive that gift is up to each of us. Life is richer and richer when we treat “The Present” as a gift to us. We need to be present to the gift, to pay attention to our “Now”. We need to live in the Now, without constantly futurizing or mulling over and reviewing the past. Each moment passes and can never be experienced or enjoyed again. We need to be present to the Present—the gift—of the Present. Psalm 118:24 (NIV) says simply, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We are exclusively in the Now when savoring it, rejoicing, and celebrating it.
Worrying, about either what was or what will be, takes you out of the Present. Think of how you are when you use your cellphone while driving. Is your consciousness in the car? Are you thinking of your car’s speed, or who is in what crosswalks? Your mind is not in your present time and place. And so it is with worrying. Whenever you are worrying, you can’t be enjoying the beauty around you, the sounds of nature, or the kind souls sitting in your car or at your lunch table.
I first heard of the idea of living in the Present when reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s first widely published book, Your Erroneous Zones. Dr. Dyer argues that focusing on the present moment is one of the most important skills we can develop. He says that guilt is feeling bad about what we may have messed up in the past, and we are living in the past when we spend time working over what we may have messed up. Conversely, he says worry is actually feeling bad about what we may mess up in the future. So, we are missing all our present moments when we are in moments of either guilt or worry. Further, Dr. Dyer says, many people are actually avoiding being in the Present: “And remember, wishing, hoping, and regretting are the most common and dangerous tactics for evading the [P]resent.”
In the Bible, Jesus is quoted a number of times as urging us not to worry, but to live each day as it comes. In Matthew 6 (NIV), vv. 25, 27, and 34, we are exhorted:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more important than clothes?
“Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?”
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.”
Mother Teresa believed in being intensely present to the Now. She said, “I believe in person to person. Every person is Christ to me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person in the world at that moment.”
So when you catch yourself guilting about the past or worrying about the possible future/s, have several deep breaths and bring yourself back to the present. Savor the Now and all that is good. After all, you are the only person who can live your life.
● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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