«

»

Aug 13

Living in the Now

This is my twelfth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

My son enjoying a ride at the Oklahoma State Fair

L= Living in the Now: I was debating on whether or not to write a specific post on living in the now, because in a way it seemed like a cop-out, given that “Living in the Now”, is the name of this blog. However, it is a topic/subject that has become an integral part of my spiritual path, which is the reason that I chose to name by blog Living in the Now, so I guess it is about time that I wrote a specific post on the subject! 😀

As some of you may have already read in the About the Author section, my life used to always revolve around the next goal, or the next step in my life. I always thought that at the next stage in my life, or after the completion of my next goal, I would be truly happy. If only I could ace the next test or class, get married, get into law school, graduate from law school, find a good job, have a child, etc., I would surely be happy. However, each stage or step in my “master plan”, only brought temporary or momentary happiness, so I would once again firmly set my sights on the next goal or stage. Many people view this type of attitude as being a positive aspect of a “driven” or competitive person, and without a doubt if I wasn’t a naturally driven (stubborn) and fiercely competitive person, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. It would have been extremely easy for me to have become discouraged or given up during my undergraduate studies when I would work the night shift at a 7-eleven, go straight to my classes (1/2 asleep, headache, feeling nauseated), come home and study for 3-4 hours, sleep for 5-6 hours, and do it all over again. So perhaps having an ultimate goal and dream in mind helped me keep my nose to the proverbial grindstone, and push through. However, no matter how many scholastic and work related awards and accolades I achieved, even after getting into law school and landing a scholarship, I wasn’t happy, I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, and I wasn’t always a pleasure to be around, as my wife can attest to.

I think the turnaround for me came after I ran into an old high school friend, who commented on how much I had achieved, and how happy I must be. I remember warmly smiling, and feeling a bit smug that i had in fact accomplished pretty much every goal that I had set for myself all the way back in middle school; however, I distinctly remember feeling an empty hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure, I had accomplished a lot of goals, and received numerous recognitions for my achievements, but I felt empty, I wasn’t happy, and I knew it, and there was no hiding from that fact. For the first time, I realized that I was desperately seeking the “something”, that Baruti mentioned in his guest piece last week, “Knowledge and Experience of Self“, but that I had been searching for it in all the wrong places.

I had previously become interested in studying world religions and philosophy during the early days of my undergraduate studies; however, it had principally been an academic endeavor. So in my search for true happiness, I began to study various religions and philosophies, not just out of academic curiosity, but as a way to really find my own path to happiness and wholeness. During my journey I have discovered that I already posses the keys to happiness, I just needed to make the conscious effort to live a happy and fulfilled life. I realize that I need to enjoying the here and know, rather than solely focus on a future that may never be, or constantly looking in the rear-view mirror of my past, because the past is only composed of my memories; and therefore, only has the power that I allow it to have.

Sure, there are days that are really stressful, and there are events that cause me sadness; however, by focusing on the best and most positive aspects of the here and now, I am better able to deal with the speed-bumps of life. After a stressful or bad day, I have learned to truly (fully) enjoy a beautiful sunset, a fine cigar and/or spirit, the playful cackle of my son, the warm smile and embrace of my beautiful wife, etc. and just relish those moments, drink in those pleasures. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals and ambitions for my future, but I don’t let myself solely focus on their achievement, and I don’t allow my happiness to be based on whether or not I achieve them.

To me living in the now involves focusing on the positive aspects of life, and simply drinking in the joys of simply alive.

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Practical Tip: Focus on the positive aspects of your life, rather than the negative aspects. Focus on the things that bring you happiness and joy in your life. Spend time with people, hobbies, and activities that bring you happiness and positive support. Take time to slow down and enjoy the little miracles of life like a beautiful sunrise/sunset or a starry night (my wife and I recently enjoyed the yearly Perseid meteor shower).

I would love to see your thoughts and comments on living in the now, and what you have done, or plan to do, in order to live more fully in the now.  If you wish to use the topic of living in the now as a point of reflection during the week, I would love for you to share any thoughts or insights that come up.
Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!

Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

21 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Jessica J Marshall

    Great post honey. I am feeling much happier now that I am making a choice to be happy right NOW. Yes, stressful things will happen, but I can control how I react to them. I love you and the meteor shower was amazing. Thank you for taking me :)

  2. Jessica J Marshall

    Great post honey. I am feeling much happier now that I am making a choice to be happy right NOW. Yes, stressful things will happen, but I can control how I react to them. I love you and the meteor shower was amazing. Thank you for taking me :)

  3. Ben Wallace

    Brother, this series is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Ben Wallace

    Brother, this series is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. aleafinspringtime

    Writing from your heart and sharing with us some of life’s greatest lessons make this blog one of my absolute favourites. Thank you Jason. I always leave with something valuable every time. Sharon

  6. sherriepalmer

    I have been surprised to discover that living in the now takes practice! You would think it would be natural for us to do. Children do it all of the time. How do we lose that ability? We get so caught up with goals and outcomes that I think we forget to pay attention to the way we get there. I try to make a point of stopping whatever I’m doing and/or thinking about doing and just look around. To deliberately, really look at exactly where I am at that moment. If I can do that even a couple of times a day, it’s amazing how it can change your outlook of the day and usually for the better. Now if I can just remember to do it more regularly!

  7. sherriepalmer

    I have been surprised to discover that living in the now takes practice! You would think it would be natural for us to do. Children do it all of the time. How do we lose that ability? We get so caught up with goals and outcomes that I think we forget to pay attention to the way we get there. I try to make a point of stopping whatever I’m doing and/or thinking about doing and just look around. To deliberately, really look at exactly where I am at that moment. If I can do that even a couple of times a day, it’s amazing how it can change your outlook of the day and usually for the better. Now if I can just remember to do it more regularly!

  8. mindfulness4now

    great post…our mind chatter certainly has the power to take us away from the present and into the past or future. In so doing we have absented ourselves from actual life, cos we are not there. Meditation becomes the discipline to bring us home as we return again and again to the mantra and in so doing suspend thought or at least not attach emotionally to it. Then we are with our true selves in the deepest ways and healing and growth follow.

    1. Jason E. Marshall

      Beautifully put! I love the grounding aspects of meditation, which allows us to commune with our true self, which is much larger and more interconnected than most people realise. Thank you for the wonderful comment!

  9. mindfulness4now

    great post…our mind chatter certainly has the power to take us away from the present and into the past or future. In so doing we have absented ourselves from actual life, cos we are not there. Meditation becomes the discipline to bring us home as we return again and again to the mantra and in so doing suspend thought or at least not attach emotionally to it. Then we are with our true selves in the deepest ways and healing and growth follow.

  10. mindfulness4now

    Back again…wanted to let you know I have nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award. Please go to my latest blog to read more about it. Congrats and hope it encourages you.

    1. Jason E. Marshall

      Thank you so much! I love it when my work inspires others, and when I get caught up with work, I plan on preparing a post for the awards I have been honored with. Thank you again!

  11. Dave

    I have been a follower of this blog for a long time. Living In The Now is always thought provoking. Thank you.

    I am giving you my nomination as a Thought Provoking Blogger. Thank you for exactly that as you continue to provoke thought with each of your entries.

    http://asecondcup.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/time-can-be-thought-provoking/

  12. Pocket Perspectives

    As I learn to come back to the moments of “now,” I’ve become increasingly appreciative, and even in awe, of the how remarkable each moment is….and as you write….to notice the positives and appreciate what’s here. I had created some “pages” about this a few months ago…to help myself learn to stay more in the moment and to appreciate… http://pocketperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/noticing-the-wow-in-each-moment-of-now/ (btw…even though I practice coming back to the now, some days I find myself stumbling around in the past or future…definitely a learning curve!) Thanks for all of your thoughtful ideas in your post.

  13. mbordelon

    Great post! We’re on the same “wave length” :)

  14. butimbeautiful

    Couldn’t say it better!

  15. Rob

    Great post. I watched Gladiator last night for the tenth time and it echoed with your Marcus Aurelius quote. Also: What we do in life echoes in Eternity! I like the energy of your blog concept. Have a top week, Rob

  16. sparkylaurie

    Wonderful post Jason. Thanks so much for reminding us of the joy of living in the now and the here.Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked what you read. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Have a nice day!
    Cheers,
    Sparky Laurie

  17. lifeyourwaycoaching

    Great post Jason! This was a great reminder to everyone to stay tuned into the now so as to enjoy every little thing! We sometimes miss the small pleasures because we always focus on the bigger picture. Thanks, too, for stopping by and liking my article on my blog. I do a ton of writing so I’m starting to get my articles out on the blog–soon to be with more consistency! All the best to you. Peggy Nelson, CPLC, Life Your Way Coaching

  18. Michelle Gregg

    Hi Jason – thanks so much for this beautiful inspiration on living in the now! And for visiting my blog. Spiritual awakening and maintenance are the most loving place to be right now with the state of our social and political unrest. The past and future are an illusion… NOW
    is the space of love and grace. Thanks for your wisdom!

    1. Jason E. Marshall

      Thank you for the wonderful compiment! I agree, that in today’s chaotic society, we must find peace within, and learn to love and enjoy ourselves, as well as the present moment. If we don’t learn to do that, we will be constantly in external and internal turmoil.

  1. Mindful Living « Living In The Now

    […] Mindful Living: Mindful living (mindfulness) and living in the now really go hand-in-hand, and while many people may view them as being the same, and even use the […]

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: