Present Moment Awareness ‒ The Only Thing That Exists Is Right Here, Right Now

Written by: Yasminne Mendonça, Executive Contributor at Brainz Magazine – Check this article at Brainz Magazine’s official website:

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Between the past and the future, we lose sight of what is most important: the here and now. Most of us live on autopilot mode, between yesterday and tomorrow, between what’s pending and what needs to be done later. Because we rely on our thoughts, living in our minds, hostage to worries and expectations, causes discomfort. As a result, when we come face to face with the reality of our existence, we feel alone.

Our thoughts pile up, jumble, and scream from the depths of our minds. We are not used to letting our thoughts flow naturally through the mind, without judging or stopping them. But our freedom from suffering can be achieved by staying in the present moment. We can only feel liberated, at peace, satisfied, secure, or happy, if we are in the PRESENT MOMENT. The only thing that exists is right here, right now. Our fears and aspirations are nothing more than fragments of our imagination. 

By definition, the past is everything that has happened previously. Therefore, the concept of the past does not exist. As a result, it can’t happen now and will never happen again. 

However, when we reflect on our past suffering, we relive it. The same happens if we recall happy memories from the past, we can relive that happiness right now.

Isn’t it more common to feel anxious about something that will happen in the future rather than something that is happening right now? 

Our brain does not distinguish between what is real (what is happening right now) and what is not. Everything we imagine in our heads, our brain will translate as it is happening now, which is why when we recall a fight we had with someone, for example, we start to feel the negative emotions all over again. This happens because our brain sends signals to our bodies to activate the fight or flight mode, causing our physiology to change. When we recall a traumatic event in our lives or perhaps wake up from a bad dream, our heart rates increase. We jump from the roof, fall off a cliff, or maybe zombies are chasing us, but we wake up scared and out of breath. That is the power of our brain. Everything we think, we also feel. Even if you don’t notice, your body will.

Nowadays we can have this same experience while playing VR games. Everything your avatar experiences in the game will be felt in your body. All of the adrenaline will literally be flowing through your veins.

The good news is that, just as we can relive all of these negative emotions, we can also recall positive memories that cause our brain to release happy hormones. Or we can think about what we want to experience in the future. 

However, thinking about the past or the future can be positive or negative. The trick, then, is to learn how to use our minds to PURPOSEFULLY recall memories or imagine future possibilities in a way that makes us feel GOOD rather than BAD.

Going to the future in our imaginations can be painful. In fact, this mental time-travel is the root of anxiety. Thinking about the good things we hope to achieve in the future can sometimes turn out badly. Not to think about what we want in the future while being acutely aware that it isn’t happening yet. This leaves us feeling left out in the cold, impatient, and disappointed. 

Because of the uncertainty, we experience worry and anxiety when we imagine the negative things we fear may happen in the future. Worrying about the future causes unneeded pain. 

It’s important to be aware of potential problems so that we can plan for how to avoid or deal with them, but when we think and worry about the future beyond what we can actually deal with, we’re wasting our present moment feeling bad for no reason.

If the past cannot be changed and the future does not exist, the only option for us all is to live in the present moment.

This means that the now can be changed, written about, and, most importantly, lived. This way of thinking has several advantages: 

  • You will be able to focus more on your daily activities without becoming distracted by daydreams about the future or memories of the past. 
  • With more focus, you can do more in your work and make better use of what you have now, as well as make better use of the journey. 
  • Anxiety decreases because you are more concerned with what you should do now than with how things will be in the future. 
  • Workplace focus and performance improve, allowing you to do more activities with less concern for the past or the future. 
  • You realise that your past and future are both consequences of your present, and that it is therefore critical to live it fully.

“There are only two days a year when nothing can be done. One of them is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow. Therefore, today is the day to love, grow, do and, above all, live”. – Dalai Lama 

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