Present Moment

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. —Buddha

Living with a focus on past regrets or future worries makes the present meaningless, because one is lost from the pleasure and connections that could be experienced in that moment. Yet at the same time, the present, without a memory of the past and openness for the future, also would be meaningless, because there would be no context for fully experiencing the present. It is somewhat a paradox, yet it does not need to be resolved intellectually. When we can change our thoughts of the past and future from regret and worry (both fear-based) into learning and acceptance, then the context for the experience of the present becomes more conducive to peace. To do so may require simply a choice, or it may require discipline and repeated practice to retrain the mind from its habitual pathways. Aren’t these both true? The repeated practice is simply a choice, made over and over again in the present moment.

From every branch flowers drift and mingle down, saying, “Now.” The spring departs until the paths she takes in leaving cannot be seen. —Izumi Shikibu

This is true for any beautiful moment. It lasts for a short time. If we are willing to stop and experience it, drink it in with gratitude, then we’ll be open for the next time it happens. . . . There is nothing extraneous. As we grow in mindfulness, what used to distract us is no longer so urgent. When the mind is restful and no longer caught in conflicting thoughts, the energy is strong. We bring a simplicity with us, no matter how busy we may become. With awareness, each moment is experienced fresh and new. When the mind is calm and open, we realize the world is sacred. —Diane Mariechild, author of Open Mind