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.