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How To Learn To Live in the Present Moment

Updated on May 10, 2011

Learn to Be, Not Do

We have been brought up to spend very little time in the present moment. We ruminate on the past, often with shame or pride, and we project into the future with fear or excitement.

Either way, we are not living life here in the sacred now. When we can switch off the world and become present to ourselves and where we are, we tend to find life is more peaceful and joyous.

Regretting the past or continuing to live in the past is ignoring what is happening for you right here and now. A different way of looking at that is that we bring into the present the experiences that you lived through and then transpose them onto what is actually happening in front of you.

For example, if sometime in your past you fell off a ladder, each time you see a ladder, your brain will assume that you are going to fall again, and make you scared in order to protect you. It does this subconsciously, and is trying to tell you that you fell once, and it hurt, so it is trying to stop you from repeating the pain. However, just because you fell once, does not mean that you will fall a second time so it is important to learn that this belief system was trying to help you but you do not need it any more.

If we relate this to humans, if you were hurt in your past (as we all were) by a man or a woman, your brain will bring up all those memories next time you are facing a new relationship, in an attempt to protect you. Unfortunately, the brain cannot differentiate between what is actually happening and what we are imagining, which complicates the issue. Subconsciously, your mind will project all your memories and belief systems around relationships onto the unsuspecting new partner, and he/she will be doing the same to you, again unconsciously. Both parties are trying to stay safe, and relationships are notoriously tricky, so your brain goes overboard and you become scared.

However, the reality in front of you is that the person you are getting to know is an unknown entity. He/she may be the nicest, kindest, funniest person in the world. Unfortunately, the only way you will get to find that out is if you put all your projections to one side and explore them and allow them to show you who they are. How many of us truly allow a new partner to be who they are?

Learn to See What Is Actually In Front Of You- And Appreciate It

Similarly, when we project into the future, either in fear, or in a daydream, we are not living in the here and now.

Worry is a projection that something bad is going to happen to you, your family, or the planet, and worrying about something does not actually change it. All you are doing is sending negative energy to a situation that you would like to avoid, over and over again. If you believe in the Law of Attraction, then you will see how this can ensure that it happens.

Likewise, day dreaming or projecting into the future is also not living in the here and now. Often we hear “When I am .......thinner, look younger, have a new job, work for myself, finish this relationship, find a man or woman, love myself, the kids are grown, (and so on)...I will be happy.” Any kind of thinking like this implies that you are not content with what you are/ have now and will become so once you have changed.

Living in the now is a process that entails learning to be happy with yourself exactly as you are. It means that you need to understand when and why you bring your past into the picture, and why you escape into the future. It is a process of firstly learning to accept and then move on to love all of you, warts and all, so that you can learn to love and accept all other humans in the same way.

The benefits of living in the now are that nothing really matters- no past or future is relevant to the wonderful present moment. It is very peaceful, and calm. It is very good for your health to be in the here and now, and to live more consciously. Engage with everything you do, be it washing the dishes, or reading to the children, or writing a report- if you switch off the distractions and really concentrate on what you are doing, life takes on a whole new meaning. Try it, and see how you do. Of course, you need to retrain your brain which may take many moons. However, you can be more conscious each time you remember to, and see if it does not bring you peace and comfort.

To Your Continued Health!

Written by Caroline Nettle

Other articles written in the same vein:

Are You Afraid of Death?

Learning To Say "No" When You Mean "No"

Ho'oponopono- What Is It And How Can It Help You?

The Truth About Relationships

Being Right- How Important Is It?

From Victimhood To Personal Victory

Does Reading About Positive Thinking Make Us Depressed?

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    • jeyaramd profile image

      jeyaramd 6 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      Living in the present moment will help be at peace. Our past and future are detractors that will compromise our time in the now. We worry about the future and sometimes relive past mistakes. It is in the present moment that we can make differences. In our present there is usually no problems. What exists rather are our own imagined problems that have their source in the past and in the future.

    • Marva Collins-Bus profile image

      Marva Collins-Bus 7 years ago

      In light of what I've been experiencing today, this hub was sent just for me at this time.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 7 years ago from Indiana

      I need to print this hub off and read it every morning. I agree in the moment I read it, but then tend to slip back to old habits, as Fossillady said. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      So hard to do...the mind slips back to worrying about the future with no job at the moment...I'm trying...thank you for the great reminder!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Your words are true and point the way to peace, happiness and contentment. A great hub. Thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Very true. Thanks for sharing. Much more difficult to practice...esp. with all of the distractions. It is a discipline and an important one.


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