Many people claim to live the present, that everything that matters to them it is the day-to-day and that they do not think about the future, as a vindication, as a slogan or a way of living. They say that they do not worry about tomorrow, about what is coming next or what they will do next week, they do not plan, do not waste time and energy on things that will happen. Although with some nuances, in fact the phrase “I live the present” as it is used by many of us is wrongly. That is not living the present, it is not worrying about future, and it is different.
Past and future, mental states
Actually, we all live in the present. It is impossible not to do it. You cannot escape from the present. It is here. You are reading this now and you are in that second that is your present. Then it is another, and then another one more. Whether you want it or not, you are always in the present. Another thing is where your mind is. That is one of the greatest evils of our society.
Past and future are mental states. They do not exist by themselves, they are nothing. Time is simultaneous although we do not perceive it that manner. The past is the imprint that left on us a present state that happened before. The future is a projection of our mind from the current present state. Our mind does not conceive living in a mental state other than something that has already happened and from which it has been able to store data, images, feelings, information, or a future state that is the projection of those images, data and feelings. When we imagine something that is going to happen or that we want to happen, we are extrapolating the information that we have in our mind to build that future event. We imagine that future, but that future does not exist yet for us. Only the present exists.
For example, we often live looking for something that may happen, waiting for something to happen that has not yet happened, yearning for the moment in which what we want to happen, happens. Our mind is set most of the time on things that we want to happen: leaving time at work, holidays, the weekend, lottery, a job change, to find a partner, to have children, to change something, to buy that other thing. Those are not real situations. They are only tricks of our mind and of our ego to survive.
Present, the tormentor of ego and mind
As we briefly commented in the previous post, “learning to meditate“, we are not our mind, neither we are our ego. The mind is the super-computer that processes, classifies and makes decisions based on the thousands of data that arrive every second from our senses. The ego is the energetic “entity”, program, software, created to manage the mind and personality, the feelings and emotions, to “manage” the body and the reality in which we live. Both cannot survive in the present. The mind is not capable of analyzing something that is just happening now, because in the moment that it does it (when it has received the data for doing it), that moment is in the past. For the ego program, the present does not exist. For very few thousandths of thousandths of a second that takes to launch a thought or making a decision, this one is already based on something that has happened. It cannot capture the present and therefore it cannot live in it.
Neither the ego understands the present. Its survival is bound to our fears, desires, passions, feelings and affections. The ego is that program that exists inside our mind and helps us to live the day-to-day, but for that very same reason, it is only capable of construing that day-to-day based on the past, on what has already happened or on future projections that the mind is capable of creating of what will happen. The ego cannot exist in the present, because it has no power over it. The present frightens the ego, and threatens its survival. That is the reason why it does not allow us to live in the present and it takes care of making us having always thoughts in our head, either with regard to the past or with regard to the future.
If we always lived in the present, the ego could end up disappearing (but it is not possible to live on this plane without the ego program, it can only be transformed, tamed and to put under the orders of other higher parts of ourselves), and the mind could easily become a computer that we could shut down and only use when we need to reckoning information or analyzing data (have you ever tried to disconnect your mind? It is not possible!), but not for being always launching and generating thoughts that keep us in an eternal state of mental fuss.
How do we live the present?
If you have ever managed to make your mind go blank, you might know the way to live in the present. A present state is the state of no thoughts. It is that moment where you are totally focused and conscious of your presence “in the now”. Everything you see, hear and feel does not go through the filters of the analytical mind, since it is not interfering. The present is the state that exists between thought and thought. Try yourself. Observe what is happening now in your mind. It can be anything that worries you or anything wandering around, and watch the moment when that thought vanishes… and that tiny space of time in which the new thought has not yet arrived. Could you watch it? Pity. Another thought has just arrived and the present is gone again.
A door to the unknown
There is an incredible world in that small blank space. It is the world that opens us the true “I”, which remains in all of us. It is the power of that one who leads our life without the interference of the central computer of the body and the energetic entity built out of all the feelings and routines accumulated on it. What happens when someone begins to notice that “present” and achieves that that space between thoughts gets bigger, even if it is only for few seconds, an incredible sense of stillness appears and we perceive a different world vision. Many people say that the real beauty of things is only perceived when there are no filters of the mind in between, and perhaps that is the best way to describe it. Live the present. Focus on the now and be conscious, truly conscious, of each moment. The more you do it, the more power you are giving to your inner self and the more power you are taking from the ego and the mind, in a manner so that when you say “I live the present” you will really know what you are referring to.