In contemporary life it is easy to to get caught up in thoughts. And get stuck in our heads. Our thoughts tend to either focus on stuff that has happened or fantasies about the future. It is also easy to fuel emotions that these thoughts are connected to. Especially negative emotions connected to events perceived as negative.
Aliveness arrives in living in the here and now. And not giving a rat’s ass about what happened before or what could happen later. Instead, experience what is in front of me and build from that.
Our culture is obsessed with both history and future. Mostly future. We’re also obsessed with the idea that the future can be predicted and possibly even controlled. The reason is quite simple. If you can guess correctly, or use power to influence where things go, you can get ahead. And that supposedly should make us feel better.
Getting ahead as a cultural idea is a sad thing. Because it implies that some should fall behind. Our culture also “tells” us this is the way it should be. The real sadness occurs when we understand on a personal level that “winning” also is accepting and maybe even enjoying that a fellow human being is losing. On a purely human level, this makes very little sense.
Personally, I’m in the middle of an ongoing series of here and nows. Each day. But, I also fall into the trap of thinking about the future, and also activating the coupled emotion of worrying. Will I find my way in this new adventure? Will I be able to sustain a living? Will people like me or not? What happens if I don’t succeed? The questions just keep coming. So, I need to keep myself in the present as a way to strengthen the sweetness in my emotions. And keep the “voice of our culture” from poisoning me. I have developed a few practices to help me with this. That work. Not all of the time, because after all, I’m still human.
For too many people “now” is just a passing moment on the path to “winning”. I’ve come to experience a different kind of now. A now that is alive. A now that is life.