You-hoo! Wakey wakey. It’s time to come out of your dream world and into reality. Yesterday has passed, and tomorrow is yet to come, and so there is no way for you to live there. Do you get that? That’s literal.
When you take time in your life to re-think choices or re-play what-might-have-beens in your head, or if you fantasize about what might happen or what might go wrong, then you are using up Nows to either re-live or re-imagine something when that has either already happened or may not happen at all. That is a crazy way to spend your Nows. It’s like sitting in a chair, looking into a mirror, and spending hours telling yourself stories. Why have those kind of experiences when you can get out of the chair, go outside and actually live?
You stand at a conveyor belt throughout your life. You are surrounded by boxes. Moments will come down the assembly line and your only job is to simply choose which box to put those moments in. You can take a Moment for Laughter, or you can take a Moment for Sadness.
We all have boxes for every kind of feeling. So why would anyone want to stand at the belt loading all of their moments into Regret, Hope, or Worry, when they could just as easily be putting them in Joy, Happiness and Friendship? In other words, you can sit at home and talk to yourself about what so-and-so did to you two years ago, or you can go out and actually talk to a real live human being about whatever’s going on Now. One is living. The other is egotistical self-indulgence.
Start paying attention to the language in your head. Is it critical? Does it suggest you’re undeserving? Or unattractive? Does it suggest that you should be different? Because those are just words you were taught to say by your culture and by people who’s views you respected. But they’re still just words. They have no actual power. You are the Thinker. You have all the power. But the thoughts you are choosing have meanings that are debilitating and enervating to you. You must become more aware and more selective.
Pay attention. Leave yourself reminder notes for a while if you have to. Have it pop up on your calender at strange intervals. Subscribe to my social media feeds—whatever. It doesn’t matter how you remind yourself, the point is that you learn to become more conscious about where your thoughts are, because that will lead directly to how your thoughts feel.
Be a vacuum. Suck up the present moment with all of your senses. Smell the flowers, taste the wine, feel the breeze, hear the birds and see the sky. Draw it all in with 100% of your attention. No yakking about yesterday. No babbling about tomorrow. No talk talk talking inside your head. Go quiet. Just Be without all of the surrounding drama. It takes way less energy and it leads to far more happiness. It’s that easy.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.