Then Isn’t Happening Now - Grasshopper
Did you ever notice that "then" can be past or future? Then can never be now but we live our whole life in then and wonder why it's not happening now.
The late, Dr. Dave Dobson said we live our lives by reference – meaning that the conscious mind experiences a stimulus and retrieves a previous, predictable, patterned response. Our mind references past stimulus/response experiences and truly doesn't reference now - only then. Some of these stimulus/response patterns got started long before our intellect was even fully formed. And some of them got formed outside of our awareness. Possibly an example would be helpful . . .
Did you ever meet someone who you couldn't warm up to? You couldn't put your finger on it. They consciously didn't do anything to trigger your cold feeling towards them, yet the uneasy sensation was there nevertheless. Then one day, out of the blue, it dawned on you. This person has the same eyebrow arch as wicked Uncle Ernie.
Part of you catalogued Uncle Ernie's eyebrow arch and associated it with his unsavory behavior. Anytime you encounter someone with that same eyebrow design, you become uneasy even though you don't know why. The stimulus was outside of conscious awareness but it still triggered a previous response in you. It had nothing to do with the person here and now; it was all about Uncle Ernie there and then.
The only place then exists, is in your stimulus/response mind.
The future does not exist now either. It's another form of "then." The difficulty most people have with the future is waiting for it to be now. And then they are disappointed when it arrives because it doesn't live up to expectations.
If you are an estimator or forecaster by trade, you may argue it's your job to predict the future. Yes, it's your job to predict "then" now, but not to live in "then" because that's impossible except in your mind.
We may be so disgruntled with our current circumstances that the only escape route we see is "then."
The difficulty with that avoidance strategy is that you ignore the building blocks to the future that are only available now. Now is the only time to build a future. If you ignore the present moment, by hallucinating that you're in the past or future, you have no quality foundation for the future to rest on when it arrives. And it doesn't look anything like what you expected.
The richness of your life and the building of your future is compromised of what you do now. The actions you take now and the energy you give to now determines your level of aliveness and what your future will look like when it arrives and becomes now.
A quality future can only come about by the quality of attention you give to what you are doing now. Every time you take extended flights of fancy away from the present moment, by mentally living in the past or future, you are using substandard materials to build your future.
The highest quality building material comes out of present moment living. Each moment that is lived now - not then, insures a future filled with rich experiences of what's happening now.
By living in the moment you are always in, you condition yourself to give high quality attention to now. This becomes a habit pattern that always delivers aliveness to your life. The past is dead and the future isn't here yet. And the quality of your future is determined by the quality of attention you give to now.
If you stay trapped in your evasive mind, you will take that trapped scenario into each succeeding moment and your future will have the same trapped quality.
Paying attention to now is the richest way to live and is the best insurance policy for the future. You can't cash in on regret, worry and anxiety. They keep you trapped in your head – trapped in then.
A sign that you are living more in the now is how much more you notice your body and the sensations within it. Your body is your connection to now. Paying attention to your body is paying attention to now. Your body can't live in the past or future. It can only live now.
Only your mind can pretend it lives in the past or future. When you bring your awareness to the present moment, "then" disappears and is no longer a catalyst for regret, fear and anxiety.
The only guaranteed moment you have is now so use it wisely. Paying attention to this moment is your best chance to live life more fully rather than every now and then.
All the best,
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