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  • Writer's pictureWarrick

Borrowing time from the present

Is this why people think their lives go by so fast?

Hello fellow Protagonists,

Is it just me or is there more of a focus for us to live in the here and now. From social media we are encouraged to colour in picture books, meditate and become mindful in most of the day to day tasks that we complete.

I found that there are plenty of mindful exercises out there to try but what was missing for me was enough reason as to why we should be mindful and live in the here and now in the first place.

So here is one reason that makes sense to me and it came from Eckhart Tolle.

The present is all that exists

We only have the time that is given to us right now and we decide on how to use that time.

Both the past and the future are illusions. The past was an old present that has been and gone and therefore it no longer exists. The future does not yet exist as it is yet to happen and will become the present at some later point.

You still with me folks? Good.

We decide to fill our minds with illusions of the past and future. The mind likes to live in the past and future but not the present. In the present our mind does not have as much use. For the purpose of this, our mind is the scanning tool that picks up warning signs (threats) or pleasurable opportunities (rewards).

To remain active our mind realises the past is full of lessons we fear may be repeated, or that the future is full of the unknown which can lead us to feel anxious. The more we are led by these thoughts the more "useful" our mind becomes and the longer and stronger it will stick around.

The important part here is that there is only the present and only one driving seat. So when we get caught up by our mind thinking about the past or the future that is what takes the wheel, leaving the present in the back seat.

Whilst we are thinking about the past or the future we cannot be focusing on what is real, the present.

We are borrowing from the present to think about illusions.

The less focus we spend in reality (the present) the quicker life will seem to go by. When we are focusing on the present we are appreciating what it has to offer and soaking up the life that has been given to us. This is why we want to train ourselves to be as present as possible, as mindful as possible.

It is the difference between living a life in reality, or within an illusion. Like some serious Matrix/Inception story-line right there. If you haven't seen these films give them a go and if you have seen them, re-watch them with a mindset on reality, living in the present and being Buff.

Lets not over-complicate things, all mindfulness is is living in the moment.

So be careful of the tools you decide to use to help become more mindful. All you need to do is select activities that allow you to feel present. Simple but not always easy. This is why some people go to great lengths to partake in dangerous hobbies like being placed in a cage in the sea and waiting for sharks. It is pretty hard to focus on the past or future when a shark is eyeing up your juicy right leg. It is all about what you are doing in that moment.

We don't need to go to great length and expense to be present, we can do it for little cost or even for free. For some people it may be baking, reading, enjoying a coffee, walking around nature, meditation, yoga or simply listening to music.

Why do you think we love watching children and pets so much, they are completely in the present. When I am eating my eggs on toast my dog has no other thoughts in the whole world than scoring a bit of toast. For all she cares there could be a full blown apocalypse outside.

The same could be said for flowers. We pick them or buy them just for people to look at. They have mostly no real practical purpose for us except to look at and realise how beautiful something can be in the moment.

Only colour in a book if you like to do it, not because you think it will teach you to become mindful. You may be missing the point. If you find you are focusing on completing the task, or are distracted by other things whilst colouring, it might not be the right task for you.

An additional lesson to all the nerds out there like me. The next time you are gaming, check on how you have been feeling whilst playing. If you have enjoyed your time, had some entertaining conversations with people and had fun, then great. Be careful as I have also experienced moments when I have gamed for a considerable length of time and don't even recall it being that fun. I would argue that this was not living in the present.

Keep the present close, at the end of the day it is all we have.

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