- Thoughts for inspired living

December 11, 2007

Living in the Past

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:06 am

I don’t know about you but I’ve done my share of living in the past. The rock group, Jethro Tull even devoted an album title to the topic. Then one day I heard The Grasshopper say,

“Living in the past is like dancing with a corpse.”

The past is a mental manifestation – the recent past and the long ago and far away past. The past only exists in your mind. It’s wonderful to have fond memories of days gone by, but, many of us haven’t noticed, those days have gone by. It’s fun to reminisce, but when it becomes indulgent, Tony Soprano’s quote should come to mind:

“Remember When is the lowest form of conversation.”

My ex-wife had a great expression when she would see little children immersed in something that took their full attention. She would say, “They are making memories.” Making memories is always better than trying to live them.

The present moment always reels us in from the escapism of living in the past or the fanciful flight into the future. Again, there is nothing wrong with either of these mind made places. They are great to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there.

If you want some instruction on present moment living, I heartily recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The short form description is this: Now is the only time life happens. The past, when it was here, was now, and the future, when it arrives, will be now.

I like to use the metaphor of an analog clock face to describe now. The clock face itself represents now. The face is the constant, unchanging, ever-present backdrop of now. The hands of the clock (second, minute & hour) represent past and future. The hands symbolize the passage of time because they are always in motion; however minute (MY-NUTE). They move from the seeming past to the seeming future yet they operate in the space of now. The clock face is the space that gives time its reference. The space where time appears is always now.

Begin to wonder how much of your now that you devote to the past that’s gone and to the future which hasn’t arrived. Most of these excursions deliver either rotted fruit or unripe apples – neither of which will feed you now.

When you become present to what’s right in front of you – the now – the richness of life that you have been seeking in time presents itself.

I don’t know who said it but the wisdom is timeless:

“The reason they call it the present is because it’s a gift.”

All the best,


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