Mindfulness-not-now

Are you in the “now?” Well if you’re not, I wonder where else you could possibly be? If you’re thinking about the future you’re still in the now, thinking about the future, you just don’t know it. If you’re thinking about the past, you’re also doing that now, from moment to moment, you just don’t know it. So you can’t be anywhere else than “in the now”.

So, what if you’re thinking about the “now”? The second you recognise you’re in the now, you’re actually remembering a past experience of “being in the now.” So if you’re really present in the now is there actually any way of knowing it?

What’s all this nonsense about being “in the now” really all about? What happens to your mind when you’re walking to the shops? What happens to your mind when you’re taking a bath? What happens to your mind when you’re lying in bed when you can’t get to sleep? The mind wanders.

Sometimes daydreaming is quite a pleasant thing to do but more often than not, distraction actually leads to more unhappiness. If we’re daydreaming about that beach in the sun, we’re silently telling ourselves how things aren’t as we’d like them to be and we’re feeding a sense of unease about how things are for us now.

This sense of unease can build up to a point where we actually notice it. Then, if we ask ourselves “why do I feel like this?”, it doesn’t make it any better; it actually makes us feel worse. Again we’re telling ourselves that things should be different to the way they are and that’s just feeding our sense of discomfort and dissatisfaction with how things actually are. From here, things really can go downhill fast. We can get into a spiral of dissatisfaction, feeling worse and worse and getting more and more upset about feeling down.

What’s really going on? When we’re not absorbed in something, the thinking part of our mind wants to carry on chatting away. It’s become a habit and that’s just the way our human minds work. The trouble is, like most things, we can overdo it and the way we live today, we’re encouraged to use this part of our mind most of the time. This “thinking” habit takes over to such an extent, we don’t actually get a chance to live our lives at all. A very big part of living our lives is through our senses and we’ve become trapped in thinking about how to make life better rather than feeling what it’s like being alive.

Then we tend to get a toxic mix of using our minds in a vane attempt to make things feel better. We’re caught in a vicious cycle in an increasing search for excitement to dull the pain. The harder we try, the more we find we can’t escape because the more we run from pain the less we feel at all. The less we feel the more we’re trapped in our thoughts and the more we’re trapped in our thoughts the harder it is for us to get out of our minds.

Now, feel the sensations in the palms of your hands. Where is your life now?