“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.” –
Author Unknown

When I was in my early twenties and beginning my spiritual quest, one of
my favorite books was “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass. He taught that being
fully aware of ourselves in the present moment was the path to spiritual
enlightenment. Not that much different from the more current teachings
of Eckhart Tolle, author of “The Power of Now.”

Both books have made me think, what does all that mean – to be in the
present moment, to be enlightened? I’ve discovered that it means
stopping the chatter of our minds and experiencing our true selves. Our
true selves are divine spirit, not holding onto what has happened in the
past or filled with anxiety over what is going to happen in the future.
Let’s talk about the past. All of us, at one time or another, have
become stuck there, Maybe the past seems much more pleasant than what we
have going on now. Do you know someone who always seems to be talking
about the good old days? Most likely they are not happy with their
current life, whether it be their work or relationships. Or maybe our
past contains painful experiences that we find difficult to let go of or
release. Do you know someone who had a hard time in the past and never
seemed to get over it? In either case, letting the past hold our
thoughts and energy can keep us from being fully self-empowered in the
now – able to create what we want in our lives.

How about the future? We can get our energy stuck there as well. It,
too, can be a way of avoiding our current life. Know someone who talks
big about what they are going to do next, but yet you never see them
actually accomplishing anything? Or sometimes we can be so afraid and
worried about the future that we become paralyzed and never take any
steps forward. Either way, focusing too much on the future can take us
away from the true business at hand.

Our power lies in the present moment. This is where we can truly create
change and growth in our lives. The mind, or ego, likes to think it’s in
control. The more we obsess about the past or the future, the more our
“thoughts” tell us we are getting a handle on things – we’ve got our
pride over things accomplished in the past and a sense of control over
what the future is going to bring. This is an illusion. It is our very
“being” that is the creative force behind manifesting, not our ego.

You may ask then, how do I get more into the present moment? Start by
paying attention to where your energies are. Notice when you drift back
to the past or jump ahead into the future, and gently bring yourself back
to now. Feel your body, listen to the sounds around you, experience a
good, strong breath in and out. Be happy to be alive in this moment and
feel the power that that brings with it.

Meditation can be key in quieting the mind and feeling yourself as
spirit. One technique is to sit in a chair and imagine yourself
connected to the earth through your body. Visualize a tree trunk or
light beam extending from your body to the earth. Next, repeat the
words, “I am.” Your thoughts about a past conversation or what you are
going to fix for dinner may intrude now and again, but just bring
yourself back to “I am.” With some practice, you will experience the joy
of just being. © Jill Miller 2008

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