Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Elusive Present

The Elusive Present

Desire pulls us forward; pain holds us back. As a consequence we are always oscillating between the two. A mind dwelling on the future or the past will perpetually be unhappy. Happiness can only be found by anchoring in present.

Unfortunately we rarely live in the present--the ego drives us into thinking about what we want to achieve in the future and at the same time it is also fond of reliving the pains and pleasures that it has experienced in the past. As a result, the mind darts back and forth between past and future. This restlessness of the mind is the root of our unhappiness because the ego is constantly rejecting the present.

Even when we think we are preoccupied with doing what we are presently doing--like chatting with someone--we are constantly judging, comparing and reacting. Whenever we do that, we are actually using past and future as our frames of reference and hence, not living in the present.

Living in the present means accepting the fullness of the moment--what Eckhart Tolle calls, Entering the Now. Things happen, you acknowledge them and you act without judgement, without any selfish interest. This principle lies at the heart of every religion that preaches complete surrender to the Will of God. This is the true practice of spiritual mindfulness.

Wouldn't such a mind be very dull? Isn't such a state of mind equal to "mindlessness"?

Far from it. Being mindless means the person is not capable of thinking at all. Being mindful means that the mind is in tune with the natural flow of the universe. Every thought that surfaces on the mind is free from the drag of the past or the pull of the future. It just emerges spontaneously.

Thoughts that emerge this way are full of potency because they come from Nature's deep wellspring of creativity. An artist at work enters into such a state of mind instinctively. We know we are in such a state of mind when we have no awareness of time passing. This feeling of timelessness comes about because we have momentarily forgotten about our past and our future.

Peace of mind and and consequently happiness lies in focussing on the present. But strangely to most of us, it is the present that is the most elusive moment of all.

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