One of the concepts that many of us have a terrible time trying to understand and use in our own lives is that of living in the present. What does that mean exactly? How do we accomplish such a state of mind?
How can we live in the present when we have plans to make? We have to figure out a way to get our kids through college, plan our retirement, and the list goes on and on.
How about when we reach the golden years? Someone once said, “Aging isn’t for the faint at heart.” There is a lot of truth to this statement. The golden years present a unique set of problems. There is the struggle with one’s health, new aches and pains enter into the picture – some of them are permanent. And there’s the fact that there are certain things that we can’t do anymore – like jogging, working all day in the yard, or even spending a full day at the office (for those of us who are still working).
Dealing with Life
And there we have to deal with a changing world around us. The new generation completely uproots and destroys things that we once held dear and cherished. There are technologies that we have to learn in order to keep up with our surrounding world.
And perhaps the most painful for some of us is the regret. We realize that many of our life options are gone – never to be available again. We think about the many things we intended to do – but didn’t. And there is that difference we wanted to make – but didn’t.
Of course, you cannot think about aging without considering our immortality. Like everything else, some of us view this differently than others. Some of us see death as liberation – perhaps a new beginning, depending on your faith. While there are lots of religions out there who believe in the heavens, those we study Buddhism prefers to see the world as truly exists now.
How to Live in the Present
Many of them have great methods and techniques for living in the present. Let us examine five of these methods.
1) Do not wait for things.
This is such a common mistake in society today. So many of us spend our lives working for something this is to be obtained years into the future. Certainly, it is wise to plan, but the plans need not eliminate the joys and life experiences of today.
Do not rob you and your loved ones the joys of today. Make room in your plans for living in the present.
2) Welcome all things in your life, push nothing away.
Another common mistake is to only acknowledge things which bring joy in your life. And then push away the hurtful experiences and try to forget them.
If you do this, then you are robbing yourself of living fully in the human experience. Painful moments are just as important as the joyful ones – they give us perspective and wisdom. Also, accepting the bad things in your life will reduce your fears as well.
3) Bring your whole self to every experience.
Sometimes we strive to bring our best self to a situation. This is not the best approach. We need to offer ourselves in its entirety in every situation – bad traits and all.
When we neglect to bring our whole self, we are not accepting our imperfections. We must learn to accept who we are in our entirety.
4) Find a peaceful place in the middle of things.
When life is hectic and you do not know the answers at the moment, then you need to have a peaceful place to collect yourself. I have heard people describe this as going to the edge of chaos for rest. However you choose to deal with this, we all need a place of rest to recharge our spirit and souls.
5) Cultivate a don’t-know mind.
As we look upon things, our perceptions are always influenced by our experiences. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to not have a bias when we perceive things.
The objective is the “don’t know” mind is to try to view the world around us without these biases and to be as objective as we possibly can. Plato described the real world as “forms” that none of us will ever because of our clouded perceptions.