In the Momentby Gerald Lee Jordan
17 February 2021 11:11 (NZT)
Since I began meditating in 2003, I have heard a lot about “the now”. Some comment that the now is all we have, emphasising that the past and future do not exist. All of this can seem a bit esoteric. I was thinking about this topic on the train during the commute into Wellington this morning.
Some of us can easily imagine that the past is gone (while others might be in the habit of fixating on it in depressive states), but isn’t the future real? We tend to push our minds into the future – thinking of what we will accomplish, imagining that the future will be better than now – imagining an ever-continuing future. We don’t really imagine we will die, do we? Letting go of the future can be a terrifying consideration.
Here and Now
On the train, I was in a meditative state. Since my meditation practice became much more intense last year, I am able to go into a “here and now” state quite quickly. After a few moments, I returned to my busy thoughts and began to consider the now. I tried to imagine how this might be considered and discussed.
Starting each day without memory of the past
While being in the moment in meditation is an example, what about an example for those who do not meditate? I imagined a scenario where a person began each day “fresh” – not remembering their past and consequently unsure what the future might bring. So, you wake up each day and have no memory of the past. Without a past, it could be argued that you would be less likely to devise quick plans for the future. What questions would you have?
Who am I?
Without a past to define you, how would you define yourself? You might look at your body and then the bodies of others and decide that you are of average build and appearance. You might search your emotions to figure out what sort of person you are inside – Am I intelligent? Am I kind? Do I seem to have any anger issues? You scan yourself inside to understand who you might be.
Will I last?
You don’t know if your absence of memory is something that has just happened today, or if you wake up every morning like this. Is there any purpose in planning for tomorrow, if you don’t remember who you are and you don’t know if you will have a tomorrow where you remember your plans of today?
Does this mental game bring you peace? Does it make you anxious? I considered this after a brief meditative state and I found it soothing. Living in the continual present seemed desirable. Imagine not being defined by the past! Not everyone would react like this.
Each of us start each day fresh. If we have baggage from the past, we pick it up each morning and carry it forward. The pain you think you feel from years ago is not pain from years ago – it is pain you recreate each day. Understanding that you recreate the past now can empower you to let it go – truly realising that you are empowering the suffering. Every day is truly new. You can create the person you want to be. If this mental exercise allow you to consider possibilities and how you create yourself, then it has been of value. Imagine yourself new in the world. Who would you want to be? You can be that person by learning to live in the now.
Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️