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.
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!