My wife and I visited our niece yesterday.
She is an energetic 5 year old who enjoys spending time with her aunt and uncle.
During dinner she repeatedly asked why we could not stay longer than 6 PM. We explained how the 1 hour drive back to the farm meant leaving at 6 because we had to lock the chicken coop. The homeowners has lost chickens to foxes, raccoons and minks in this semi-remote area of NJ.
My niece kept asking, begging and pleading for us to stay later. Her mom said, “What about seeing them now?”
I followed up, explaining how we were enjoying time in the now so why worry about not seeing us later than 6 PM?
Five year old kids and adults alike make this common mental error. The ego projects to the future in worry over some loss to the complete ignorance of a presence of limitless possibility. In the now, life is rich. But worrying about some future scenario robs you of now because thinking ahead forces you to forget now. How can you be fully present if you project your mind to the future? Literally, my niece worried about the loss of not seeing us later when she was seeing us in the now.
Grown ups do this constantly. My wife and I received a message from the homeowners earlier today. They need to return tomorrow due to an emergency. Immediately, the ego worried about the future loss of 7 day's worth of house sitting on a rural farm in a peaceful, gorgeous region. But we both caught our minds projecting forward and chose to be present, now, to enjoy the remaining day and a half. We also felt immense gratitude for having spent the past 4 days of now's in such a serene, rural setting.
Being present seems like the realm of enlightened beings because few folks living worldly lives choose to train the mind. I cannot lie; I spend a decent chunk daily training my mind and the practice feels highly uncomfortable if not maddening, in moments. But what other way is there to live? Do you and I desire to worry of future in fear or regret the past in guilt when being blessed with an unlimited now is the only real aspect of life?
The dog we are caring for lives in the now, as do all animals. She experiences fear as all unenlightened sentient beings do but she adds no stories of future or regrets of the past. Why? Time is not real. The moment is reality. Timelessness is true. All else is false. The dog does not consult a calendar, or clock, to decide on anything. She is always in NOW mode. The ego forgets now and the present gift of infinite possibilities to focus on what one may lose or seems to lose in the future. But mind-training brings you to the moment, once again, out of achieving, pushing, straining and striving.
I spent years of my blogging life firmly entrenched in a future of loss versus mindfully helping people truly, genuine, now. But I am slowly, steadily and gently learning my lesson taught by the present, the ego never sparing the rod of its pining for future or past. I suggest all future-focused minds hellbent on dreaming future loss to forget the now simply take a deep breath, relax, and notice the ego and its seemingly endless machinations.
Ego tortures. But a trained mind ceases self-torturing in a relaxing present. Mindfully reading these words dissolves the future into the present. Who feels poor now who notices the gift of life now? Who feels rich, relaxed and calm now who projects mind and its fears on dreamed losses in the future? People have everything in the moment but spend decades out of the moment, in time. Meanwhile, animals live in the now, small kids live in the now until the ego teaches and impresses the concept of time and enlightened beings have completely conquered time, resting in timelessness, relaxed, poised and full of love.
Be here and now.
Let go imagined future losses to feel happy about the moment and all it brings you.