Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
I’ve been asking myself this question for a long time now. All these gurus talk about being in the Present. You know, Eckhart Tolle, Anthony Robbins, Robert Anthony and even Buddhism. They say that in order to be healthy and happy you have to fully embrace the present moment.
Some people live in the past. That means they constantly think of the good (or bad) times they had when they were younger. It also means that they hold on to grudges for longer. In other words, the present is not good enough and future non-existent for them. They can’t be ever happy unless they go back in time.
Others meanwhile, live for the future. Some of them always seem cheerful and expectant of some good thing happening soon. That soon may never come but they are still happy. They don’t dwell on the past and may not learn from their mistakes. On the other end of this scale there are also some future-living people that constantly worry about the future. They try to foresee every obstacle (most are never even encountered) and can’t get to sleep because of worry that they may have missed something. These people can’t be happy either. They live in fear.
So the gurus say that you have to live in the present. Past is gone and there’s not much you can do about it. Future has many possible paths and there’s no guarantee that the one you’re on is the one you chose.
Now, let’s take a look at the Present. But what is that elusive Present?
My definition is that the Present is where Past meets the Future. It is this tiny little fleeting point in time. In fact it is so tiny that it doesn’t really exist. Think about it. Right now. By the time you’ve thought about it it’s already moved on into the past. In fact, by the time you decide to think about it, it’s gone. You just can’t pinpoint it. How long does it last? A second, millisecond, microsecond? No, it just doesn’t last at all.
So it logically follows that the Present does not exist. It’s an illusion. Therefore, how can you live in the present if there is no such thing? It’s only Past and Future.
Or maybe, and that’s a worrying maybe, it’s the other way around. Maybe there’s no past and no future just everlasting Now. Maybe it’s all in our minds. A trick that our minds play on us.
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
These days just about everything demands our attention. Here’s a typical day disected. You try to concentrate on work, then something distracts you. Then you’re feeling hungry and think about food. Your friend calls with the latest gossip and you’ve forgotten about food. Kids come in yelling and fighting with each other. After sorting the kids, you’re back to food. Then you remember about work and the looming deadline. Your partner comes in with their problems of the day. And so on, you get the drift.
At the end of the day you feel drained. You reach for a glass of wine (or something stronger) claiming it calms your nerves. You end up going to sleep feeling guilty that this or that hasn’t been done. Does this sound familiar?
There are infinite number of things that our minds have to worry about. This is contributing to the epidemic of stress related health issues. More and more people are either self-medicating or reaching for prescription drugs. There is however, a simple way to deal with stress.
We know that there is a conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind processes new information and learns new things. The subconscious mind takes care of repetitive stuff so that the conscious mind is free to focus on whatever we choose. Imagine how hard it would be if we had to consciously think about breathing, heart beating, digesting and so on. We would not have time to work or enjoy ourselves. Anything new done a few times becomes automatic – that’s the beauty and power of the subconscious mind. Take bike riding as an example. Once you learn it, you won’t forget it.
So what does the subconscious mind have to do with stress? Simply, let it solve your problems for you. How? By letting it. Once you stop forcing stuff with your conscious mind, you let the subconscious do its magic – do what it was designed to do. Very often it has done it before. You may not realise it at the time, but some problems are similar to others and some solutions are similar to others. Furthermore, problem solving in general can be pushed to the subconscious and done effortlessly. Think about it – no more stress!
You can practice this by thinking nothing, or meditating. When you don’t think, all the competing worries get equal share of your time – nothing. Some people suggest that the mind is like a radio tuner and station at the same time. Then we are all broadcasting our thoughts, but only when you quiet your mind you can hear anyone else’s thoughts. And chances are that others have had the same issues as you. So by tuning in to their thoughts there is possibility of obtaining the solution stress free.