Living in the here and now / in the moment [26 tips, ways & insights]
Living in the here and now, or being in the present moment… It is talked about a lot these days, but what is it really? In any case, it ensures that you bring an extraordinary quality to your tasks and interactions with other people. In this article you will find great tips and insights for living in the here and now.
Sources: Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle & others
| 1 | Insight | What is the here and now? A meaning can be…
Let’s start with a simple example to explain the here and now. You may have experienced some sort of clear presence when you talked to someone and the message was crisp and clear, without the disturbing clutter of thought. That was a very easy moment to be in the now, and a nice simple example of the here-and-now.
We can also look at the here-and-now in a deeper way, and then we arrive at the following meaning: the now is equal to life. And that was a very ‘vague’ meaning. Let’s make it a little more concrete …
Life seems to exist at all consecutive moments, but if you look through your own direct experience, you discover that there is only always ‘this moment’, while we have the illusion that there are many many moments.
Your whole life unfolds in the now. You perceive a present moment that, when it is over, is taken over by another present moment, and then another moment, and so on. And so ‘the here and now’ unfolds …
Welcome to where you are … to the here and now!
Life is only now. Your life is never not in the now. The only place you can ever encounter the future is in your head. The same is true of the past.
Just this .
Always this .
Always and forever this .
– Jeff Foster
But … this here and now never seems to be enough. In the following sections we will discover why and how we can return to the ecstasy of this, here, now.
| 2 | Insight | The difference between your life situation and your life
Your life consists of:
- Your life situation (your job, financial situation, health situation, relationships, life situation, age, events).
- And more: your life.
But for most people, their life situation is all there is. They don’t know anything else and call it ‘my life’. They think their life situation is their life. But there is a deeper, more fundamental level: your life.
Everyone is ‘hypnotized’ to believe that their life situation is all there is to it, that it is absolutely important. It’s important, but relatively important. Absolutely important is the fullness of life. Things of this world then happen much lighter, and simpler.
Life is now. Your life situation exists in time – past and future – so it basically doesn’t exist if you don’t think about it. It only exists in thoughts . That mind can eat you up and drain you, often through a continuous follow-up of concerns you need to worry about.
So there is a huge difference between your life, what is in the now, and your life situation, what is in the past and in the future. Your life itself is much deeper than your life situation.
What is liberation? The disappearance of past and future.
‘Being’ in the ‘here-and-now’ is accepting everything that arises and happens in this moment: your life. This applies to things that are happening within you, and things that are happening around you. There is an alertness , as if you were waking up from a dream. The dream of thoughts. The dream of past and future. Everything is suddenly so clear , everything is so simple ! There is then no room for problems.
Nature is still completely ‘alive’.
you don’t have a story, you don’t have a life, because then it’s a direct object. We are the subject. You have no life: you are the life. Also read the piece about Descartes.
“Good morning, good to have you here! ”
– The best phrase anyone can hear to start the day off right
| 3 | Insight | Is your life cheap fiction (move fast to the future) or rich literature (here-and-now)?
Think of a fiction book you’ve read. Suppose only the following was included in the book: “What happens first, what happens next, and what happens next, and what is the outcome of the story?” Every character lacks depth and every description lacks depth. There is no point in rereading the book. Once you know the end of such a book, you wouldn’t read the book again. The book never paid attention to the content of the story …
Compare that to true literature: every page has a wealth. You can read it over and over because the outcome is not that important. The depth of every moment, of every page, of every scene, that’s what it’s all about! Is your life cheap fiction or rich literature?
We don’t dance to get to the end of the dance, but to enjoy the dance itself. We also do n’t listen to music to get to the end of the song as quickly as possible , but to hear the richness of the song itself. And so it is with our lives. Just sitting here, listening to the sounds, our hearts beating. That is the wonder and the richness of life.
| 4 | Insight | Problems only exist in the past and in the future
Suffering? Unhappy? Issues? Stay in the now. Unhappiness and problems cannot survive there. You think you can get rid of your problems by worrying about them (for example, thinking about the next few days to come), but that way you always keep on “ getting rid of problems ” …
The past is over. So it has no power now.
And if you don’t have any problems for a few days because you have ‘fiddled with them’, just wait. You are in the short, rare pause between problems. So stay in the now and see that there is no problem at all!
Even though all your problems and ‘inequality’ are solved, if you don’t go to the now and become aware, new ones will quickly emerge.
The intensity of suffering depends on how strongly you are out of the now, and thus also how strongly you identify with your thinking. So the more you honor and live it now, the less the suffering. Resistance to ‘what is’ and denial of the now creates tension and dissatisfaction …
If you are present in the here and now, you don’t need anything psychologically.
Are you having problems NOW? Not tomorrow, not in 5 minutes, but now? Besides challenges in the present moment , there are no problems except in your head. The mind tries to intervene. “Let me remind him / her of this problem next week.” At that moment attention and energy leaves the body: all energy flows to the thought. At such a moment, re-enter the body: inhabit it.
If you stop thinking about ‘me and my problems’, who are you? If you take away judgments, interpretations, your past and future, what is left of you now? Consciousness itself.
Time is inseparably linked to your thinking. We are only concerned with the past and with anticipation of the future. This creates an unnecessary activity and an obstacle to appreciate the present moment. Those are illusions. Time is an illusion. There used to be no time.
The secret to making all drama and problems stop is to awaken from the grip of linear (clock) time, and wake up in the here and now. You still go through linear time, but you know / realize that it leads nowhere. You can let it be, and you will see every detail in life in a different way. “Hey, wow, look at that!”
You can compare the here-and-now with ‘Flow’: the optimal experience.
| 5 | Insight | The here and now removes suffering
Another important reason why the here-and-now is so important: the here-and-now removes suffering. We make a clear distinction here between pain and suffering. Pain is a physical thing and cannot be taken away in this way. Suffering, on the other hand, is often self-created and unnecessary. It is always a form of non-acceptance, resistance to the being, the now (it is judgment or negativity). Stress and suffering is namely: being in conflict with this moment, with what is: you don’t want to be here because you have to be in the future.
Any place other than Now feels like homesickness and nothingness.
Fear is created by thinking about the future. Uncertainty too. You do that by not being present. There is usually nothing to fear in the present moment. Most of the fear comes from leaving the now and projecting yourself into a possible future that doesn’t look right. The mind tries to control and deal with the future. But it cannot, because it does not exist. So it gets anxious. And you start to believe in that fear. You can always deal with this moment. Then you don’t even have time for fear because you don’t think. You do (or you should do)! This is forced by the situation at hand.
Suffering is an option.
You think you will find salvation in the future, so you don’t accept the present, but only now can you find salvation and really do something. That non-acceptance of the present is suffering. Suffering needs ‘time’. It cannot survive in the now. You cannot resist or be against this moment. It is possible, but then it is called suffering. The suffering you create is always a form of non-acceptance: resistance to what is. This resistance is a form of judgment, emotionally a form of negativity.
Everyone seems to be in the grip of a disease. What is that disease called? Time.
Suffering and depression are natural alarms that warn us that we are attached to thoughts: that we are caught in the dream of thoughts. First we become aware of the feeling, then the thought. So the feeling is an alarm that there is a thought you need to deal with. When you do that, the internal argument will disappear. What remains is love, love for yourself, other people and everything and everyone around us.
Ultimately, all suffering is an illusion.
The fulfillment of your life cannot come indirectly, through anything outside of you or through time . It doesn’t take time to be who you are. It is not something that can happen in time. Now you know it. Now you just have to live it. And if you don’t want that, that’s okay too. That means that you will lead more often, until you choose to live in the now.
From the standpoint of Brahman (God) there is no time, only the infinite now. “Oh Brahman, do you never tire of the world?” No, because Brahman doesn’t have to remember anything, and you get tired of the things you remember. ‘
– Alan Watts
| 6 | Insight | The only real reality is now: life
Life is now. There is nothing else. The future and the past do not exist. Nothing has ever happened in the past. It all happened in the now. Nothing will happen in the future either: future events take place in the now. Nothing can happen outside of the field from now on. Life is now. There is nothing else. Receive life with open arms!
The now is the most precious thing there is. Why? Because it is the only thing.
When you think about the past or future, you do it now. They are not realities in themselves, because in the past or in the future there is no “being.” So the only real reality is the now. It hurts when you go against reality. Everything you need is already here, now. You need what you have. How do I know I don’t need what I don’t have? I do not have it.’
Life cannot exist in isolation from the here and now.
The ‘normal’ state of consciousness is: a state of non-presence, absence and attention not fully here and now. So the fullness of life escapes you. And you seek the fullness of life in the future, where you will never find it. And here comes the revolutionary insight: you cannot get there, you can be alone, right now.
This world is not that crazy. It’s the only place where you can get a nice steak.
– Woody Allen
Pour wine today, my friend. Because tomorrow is another day.
– Abu Nuwas, 10th century Arab poet
It’s a typical Woody Allen joke, but it also points to the gift of the here and now. It’s the only real thing we have that we can enjoy. The only time is the present. That is, if you wake up to that …
Probably the greatest secret ever is that this moment is the only meaning of life. Surprising, radical and shocking discovery? No. Absolutely ordinary. Not surprisingly, the ordinary turns out to be the only meaning of life.
| 7 | Insight | Why is the here and now even more important? The trap of ‘finding happiness in the future’
Let’s talk a little about he trap of ‘finding happiness in the future’…
“Not now,” says the mind. ‘Can’t you see I’m busy? Maybe tomorrow I can start enjoying it. ‘ That morning will never come.
The mind / ego says, “Someday, once X has happened, I’ll be fine.” Or it uses the present as a means to an end. It is not uncommon for people to wait their entire lives to start living. Waiting for the next vacation, for the children to grow up, a better job, valuable relationship, success, making a lot of money …
If you cannot enjoy this moment, you cannot enjoy the next moment. Because the next moment is this moment.
– Eckhart Tolle
The future will always be better seem to see. And the present ‘not good enough’. Because of this, it often happens that people spend their entire life ‘waiting to start living’. This is the wait-to-start-to-live syndrome.
Everyone is running to the future, for example in a big city: everyone is running, constantly. Then where are they running? The future, of course. They are trying to get away from this moment. Everyone is running to the future, because this moment is not good enough. It is an attempt by the ego to get into the future.
Seeking happiness – through a goal in the future, for example – is seen as a positive thing, but it can be something dangerous. You could miss something: what is already here. Search implies that it does not yet have it (future) … That you are looking for a desired state of mind that lies somewhere in the future.
We’ll work ourselves to death for months … and then we can fly somewhere and lie on a rock. Well, on a beach. That sounds better than ‘stone’.
So you imply: the present moment is not enough, and I am not enough, so I cannot be happy yet. Until I am complete. This way you miss your whole life. The moment you look for it, it becomes future. Future is another form of thoughts, separate from the now.
We always try to keep up with everything, but we never really manage to keep up.
Many old people live in the past, and many young people live in the future. ‘In the future I will be fulfilled, after I have reached x (recognition, a house …). I’m going to get to that point and then I’m finally fully alive, fulfilled, myself, but without 10 million in the bank I can’t be alive. ‘ And even after reaching that 10 million it doesn’t happen because sooner or later the stock market falls …
It is an illusion to think that by changing the world / environment, you also change: new job, house, love, faith … Sometimes it succeeds, but for only 5 minutes. Your behavior can change, but you cannot. Because you will always be love, and you always are now.
So you don’t have to wait for the perfect moment to take action in the here and now (perfectionism). The stars will never line up, never will all the lights turn green … We put it off all our lives, but now is always the best time!
The trick is to live as if it were happening to you.
– Martin Bril
| 8 | Insight | But setting goals and visualizing the future is also important, isn’t it?
You may now be faced with the following dilemma: ‘I think about my dream life every day. Because I once visualized and wrote down my dream life as the law of attraction taught me . That goal is in my head every day now. It’s the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing in the evening. ‘ How does that rhyme with living in the here and now?
Let’s highlight both sides. For starters: the hard pitfalls of being overly attached to goals … When we constantly have that goal in mind, we are less mindful of the true enjoyment in the daily little things (which are actually not that small) …
- Visiting a friend …
- Being susceptible to any sideways that present themselves to us in the way that reveals itself to us. We would miss those (chance) rich side roads – and the happiness on our way – if our focus is on the end of the road …
When we are constantly working towards that goal, we miss everything that reveals itself along the way. Sin, isn’t it? And what are we doing it for? For a vision of the future that does not actually exist … And for a vision of the future that is likely to be based on material success …
I secretly fall into the trap of the ego that makes my vision of the future so incredibly attractive … Keeping me away from the here and now.
And even though material success is achieved, this sense of material happiness will last for no more than half an hour. After that, the ego wants even more material things. Another future to strive for. It’s an illusion that never ends and very slyly makes you believe it’s real …
Happiness from the future – if you ever ‘achieved’ it – lasts a maximum of 30 minutes. It’s fake luck. After that, even more must be ‘achieved’. You have not become a gram happier.
So always let the way be the goal, where you can be open to deviate from the path and where you anticipate all the gifts that life will give you. Those gifts and fun side roads present themselves to us in the here and now.
A goal or the future will always reveal itself to us differently than we imagine. Therefore, it is not fruitful to focus only on the future. Instead, we can better use our energy to seize all the opportunities that present themselves in the now.
And yet … goal setting is also important. How could one best lead a life in which goals are set and where the here-and-now is not lost sight of?
For this I have three answers for you:
Answer 1: Keep in mind what is important and what is absolutely important. Setting goals is important , but not absolutely important . Your relationship with the now is your absolute most important relationship. The keyword is not to disappear into the material aspect of life. Happiness (moments) and love cannot be found in the things that money can buy.
Answer 2: The here and now brings you true happiness . And happiness is never the end goal. Luck is not a prize you get at the finish line, but it is the starting ticket you need before you even start. The path to the goal is therefore full of moments of happiness in the here-and-now. You walk this path of happiness on the way to your goal. It is a mistake if you try to achieve a goal in order to achieve conditional happiness. There should be no conditions for happiness.
Answer 3: You can also see it as a natural combination to step in and out of the here and now. It is a shame that the enjoyment of the here-and-now is (too) often pushed away by fantasy images and future thinking, but this is also good somewhere, so that we can rediscover the here-and-now . This has everything to do with (time and again) awakening and non-duality .
Fear is part of striving for goals in the future. Fear of losing what you have and fear of not getting what you want. There is one solution: fall in love with where you are.
So the here-and-now remains our number one priority, whatever goals we may have. Ask yourself: what is my relationship to the present moment? You can relate to the now by paying attention to the form in which the now expresses itself: ‘what is’ and ‘what is happening’. What kind of relationship do you want with the now? Do you want to make friends with it?
True happiness? It’s a sense of satisfaction. It is good as it is at that point. The moment is right.
– Christian van Midden, loyal reader of this website
You make the first move. Become kind to it. This is the end of your ego. For the ego it is now always a means to an end. But the future will appear in the form of the now, so the future will never be found. Intense happiness can be found in your connection with being. This is one with who you are. And you can train this by doing it more often!
Appreciate the past instead of clinging to it. Who you are is now. Even though your big dream had come true last week and you were on stage in front of a thousand people, it was nowhere near as great as this present moment.
| 9 | Insight | The paradox of the present: simple but perfect
The present moment is always small, always simple. But therein is the most perfect and largest part. Only when we align ourselves with the present moment can we access that power, the power of life itself. The force we can call ‘God’. It is actually more true to say that It has access to you, and through you to the world.
When you turn away from the present moment, God stops moving into your life. Then you are left with the concept of God you may or may not believe in. Just believing in God is a weak alternative. The illusion that you are not connected to the power of the universe returns, as does fear, stress, negativity, loneliness, struggling with things and trying to achieve things.
Maybe you now take a few deep breaths, relax your shoulders, put a smile on your face, absorb this moment and realize: life is beautiful.
Do you have stress? Touch something, hear the sounds and breathe. In that awareness of the present moment lies infinite potential, infinite life. It all lies in ‘the now’. The now always means enormous energy. Energy that feeds the entire universe. You can access it through the small doorway that opens when your attention is in the moment.
The now is something that seems so insignificant to the mind! The mind will see the here-and-now as ‘nothingness’, while the here-and-now is precisely the fullness of life.
The here-and-now is a portal to space within you, so it is very powerful. It means to allow what is as it is now. Because it is already there. And ‘the now’ and ‘what is’ are inseparable. So you must allow this moment to be, because there is always only this moment. The form it takes does change. The only thing that is permanent, that remains constant, that does not change, is now.
I only have three things to learn in life:
- Simplicity: Live instantly. Being alive. Most of the urgencies we experience are fake.
- Compassion: being with someone. So don’t heal someone, but be in the disease bed with that person.
The now is the consciousness of your being from which everything arises. You already have everything potentially. You don’t have to look for it. Nothing needs to change in your life.
The past is history, the future is a mystery and now is a gift.
– Bill Keane
How do you stop looking? By no longer internally rejecting, running away or resisting what is in this moment. You achieve success in this by being in line with the form that this moment is taking. The conceptualized, selfish entity cannot do that, but you can do that.
Love, gratitude, fun and happiness are just here.
| 10 | Insight | By being in the now, you serve the ‘future’ correctly
Your intentions are so good when you think about the future: you want to make sure everything turns out well. But the secret is: the future will be all right if you take action in the now.
A happy life is made up of happy years.
A happy year is made up of happy months, happy weeks, wonderful days …
Such a day consists of happy hours and great minutes.
And those minutes are made up of happy moments.
For example, this moment with an article, tea and warm toes. That’s all. There is nothing more.
– Jelle Hermus, from Steeds Leuker
You can always deal with the now and deal with it, but you can never deal with the future or the past, and you don’t even have to. You already have the resources to tackle it (!). Becoming more astute can be better achieved by removing the sense of time. You will be amazed at what skills you can suddenly display to serve the future. You can then draw optimally from your subconscious, where all sources are stored.
So coming into the now is about recognizing what is primary and what is secondary: giving priorities . Not only is everything going through it now much easier, but also much more powerful. There is always only this one step you can take now. So give it your full attention. What you find at your final destination – once you get there – depends on the quality of this one step. What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness in the now.
So honor the simple, present moment, instead of striving for perfection in the next moment, because then that perfection will simply be expressed.
If you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.
– Old Tibetan saying
You always hope that a future moment is even ‘fuller’. But if you cannot find the fullness in this moment, you cannot get the fullness in the next moment, because the next moment is this moment. Always when it comes.
Only your actions and thoughts from now create your future.
The miracle is, you are doing it now, whatever your circumstances. Even if you are homeless, or broke, in prison, or if you have a physical condition. The fastest way to get out of unwanted situations is to enter it now, along with all of its life energy. It’s just waiting for you to interact with it. And then your life situation even improves very quickly. You can honor this moment. Deep care and quality then flow into what you do, even the most boring work.
This is the true secret of life – to be fully engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it “work,” realize it is play.
– Alan Watts
The quickest way to get out of such a boring work situation is to give it another state of consciousness: by caring for it, even for the most boring work.
Once you realize that the way is the goal and that you are always on the move, not to achieve a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and wisdom, life no longer becomes a task, and it becomes natural and simple , an ecstasy in itself …
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
| 11 | Insight | Clock time is great to experience the future and the past
You can use time as a means for practical matters, such as achieving your goals. You can use the future for practical matters. “Let’s meet up at 1:00 tomorrow, okay?” Beyond that, the future offers you no future for some deeper identity.
| 12 | Insight | Where is the here and now? It is here and it is now!
Does it take training to get into the here and now? Are there degrees to what extent you are in the now? Will I be a little closer to the present tomorrow than today, and will I have come a little further next week?
In this everything is already perfect. There is only now. There is only this .
– Jeff Foster
It takes exactly 0 seconds to get into the now and to be yourself. And people who have taken 18 years to ‘heal’? They also took 0 seconds, not years. They have waited 18 years to jump into the here and now. It took a long time to completely mislead you or make you wait, but once you heal, you heal immediately!
Jump into the here and now? That certainly cannot happen in the future. Meditation retreats for days or years are therefore not necessary to get into the now.
Getting into the now isn’t something you can get better at. In fact, it is so simple that you cannot think about it. You can not successfully be . You can only successfully be . This is true for your entire life journey.
There are no steps to self-realization.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
You cannot reach ‘The Now’, get better at it, find it. It is already our innermost essence. Meditation – nice and short, powerful and often (nice and long is also allowed, but not necessarily necessary) – is about discovering inner space. That is the space where it now lives.
The worst thing you can tell someone connected to time is, “You have run out of time.”
| 13 | Tip | In this way you live in the here-and-now in daily life
The here-and-now eludes many people in everyday life. How is your relationship with your cashier, your mechanic or your customer? Are they just a means to an end? Or do you acknowledge their existence for a moment, by noticing them and giving them your attention? Many people don’t appreciate them for who they are.
How do you change this? A little moment of attention is enough. Attention to people, but also to objects. You then no longer perform a script (cashier: ” Have a nice day, who can I help? ‘), But you see a person in front of you, full of wonder at the other person in the present moment: you become real. That will automatically go from the other person as well.
Let the whole world be your meditation classroom. It is easy to be mindful and aware in formal Yoga or meditation moments. The real lesson is to ‘be here now’ when you are late for work, take the stairs down to catch the subway and greet your cashier. The whole world is our classroom, especially the moments we enjoy the least.
| 14 | Tip | Shake off the past
Let’s look to nature again to learn about the here and now. Ducks have a very short fight. After the fight, they each go in their own direction, blow the negative energy from their wings and go on with their lives as if nothing had ever happened. If the ducks had a human spirit, they would keep the fight alive by thinking, by making stories.
How can you become like the duck?
- Fly your wings – ‘shake it off’ – and return to the only moment of power: the present moment.
- Several times throw back what just happened with a kind of whoosh sound. You can also incorporate this in your dance. Also with your wrists loose, throw the pollution in your aura down, past you to both sides, to the left, to the right and upwards.
- Do an aura cleanse.
| 15 | Tip | Be more alert to silences
You already read it in the previous sections: the here-and-now is actually happening right now, in the middle of your daily life! What does it mean in concrete terms that the here-and-now actually is now? In addition to the example above about your cashier, mechanic or customer, you could also focus on the silences in your conversations …
Be especially aware of the space between words. Don’t wait for the next statement or word. Are you not in the here and now? You are then busy making mental comments from within. You are more interested in your own opinion or point of view than what is being said.
Are you in the here and now? You are in a state of alert attention. That is consciousness itself, before it becomes something. Someone won’t be able to say anything for 3 or 4 hours, and you’d be fine with that. That is ‘being’, that is meditation. Isn’t that boring? If the mind were on, it would only get boring because the mind finds silences extremely boring …
There is a voice that does not use words. Listen.
| 16 | Tip | Phrases and tips about the here and now and ‘being’ to meditate on
- Use a few words as a mantra to get into the here and now. This could be, for example: ‘Attention, Here, Now, Focus, Become the space!’
- The past shrinks to nothing, and the future shrinks to nothing, and the now expands until it covers everything.
- To the ego it seems like you lose control and control when you are in the here and now. The ego has a point with that, because toddlers also have no sense of time and are fully in the now. That is why they are not toilet trained.
- We have forgotten to ‘be’, where life is, to ‘be’ here and now. We are lost in doing, remembering, in a maze of complexity and problems.
- Presence is the key to freedom. You can only become free now.
- Life-threateningly ill people suddenly live completely present in the now, because they have no future to flee to.
- Not only what is happening in the now, the content, but also the space is good to focus on. That is much deeper. You step out of the content of your thoughts into space. Your thoughts no longer absorb all of your attention.
- You are freed from time when every cell in your body is buzzing with life energy and the joy of being.
- Only the present moment can set us free. That is the awakening .
- ‘Being’ goes beyond good and bad. It’s just there.
- Every thing has ‘its’, a temporary form that originates from the source of all things.
- Are you lazy? Be that and enjoy it. Get into it fully.
- Remember that you are your consciousness , not your thoughts, concerns and reputation.
| 17 | Tip | Don’t try to understand this: just feel the here and now
It’s not what you think it is. You cannot think about presence, and the mind cannot understand. You have to be. Understanding presence is being present.
We are not trying to understand. There is nothing to understand.
In other words, adopt an attitude of not knowing. The past and the future exist only in thought. So put your thinking down a notch. Feeling is key. Use your body to feel (among other things) emotions.
Another word for your feeling is: use your intuition . Read in this article how you can come to your intuition as a gateway to the here and now. You can feel ‘the being’ (by entering it now), but you cannot understand it.
Your soul is present. Your ego is absent.
| 18 | Tip | How do you enter ‘the now’? Through your senses
The gateways to the now are your senses, for with your senses you can only perceive now . You can do that with the exercises for sensory acuity. Why is this so uncomfortable, when it is actually so easy? You are so concerned about your conceptual reality that you miss reality … Until you realize that there is a dimension within you that is much more vital.
Many people are so busy that they are not even living.
It’s very simple: give attention. Look. Don’t label but look. You now enter it through mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to whatever is emerging at the moment. Be in sync with the soul of the present moment. Respond to the feedback of the moment. You don’t think about what you do, but you keep everything that arises in your consciousness.
The now is the only place you’ll ever live. I can promise you that.
It is already possible with something simple such as a walk. And look … At everything around you in a mindful state of alertness.
You don’t walk there like the little me with its past knowledge and problems: you walk there as a field of consciousness, looking at the incredible beauty of the universe, loving those things it sees, loving itself.
And everyone and everything you meet will love you. Even nature. You will feel that the trees and the birds will love your presence.
| 19 | Tip | How do you enter ‘the now’? Say yes to every moment and action will arise
Don’t become obsessed with the story of ‘I’, which only exists in the past and the future. Get out and enter the space of today. Become kind to everything that appears in the now. There is an insane power in no longer denying what is happening now.
So say ‘yes’ to every moment. That is all you have to do for the spiritual practice to enter ‘the now’. When you fight life, life fights you. When you say yes to life, life says yes to you.
To allow the form that this moment takes is love.
So what is your relationship to this present moment? Do you deny it, resist it? Do you want to be somewhere else in terms of time or space? Are you mentally elsewhere, which is denial of the now? Say yes to this moment!
Living in the here-and-now means facing obstacles without resistance. You say yes to it.
So say yes to this moment: it may be there. Because what’s the point of saying no when it’s there? Action can come from a yes, not a no. A completely different quality is in your actions. Don’t worry about the fruits of what you do. So don’t depend on the outcome. Focus on the action itself, not the fruits of the action. You are then no longer dependent on the future for satisfaction.
Excellence is my presence.
– The Notorious BIG
If you act based on your awareness in the moment, everything you do will radiate quality, care and love. The result, with tremendous quality, will come naturally. One of the ways to say yes to any moment is by “not knowing.” Only two options are possible in the now. ‘Thinking’ and ‘trying to know’ are not listed:
The only two options in the here and now are:
- Action. For example, by intervening in a way that the situation requires.
So accept what arises in the now, within you and without, and take action on the feedback that the moment is giving you at that moment. You do need some alertness for it.
When you are at the bus stop, you can already be in the here and now: breathing, looking around, at the sky, the trees, feeling the life in your body, paying attention to other people who pass by … There is a alertness, a beauty ….
You may have noticed that during the Yoga class you can continuously watch your breath … because it keeps you in the here and now.
You are observing the dance of life all around you. In the back of your mind you know you’re going to a business meeting, but that’s the story. Happiness cannot be found with that story. The illusion of happiness: yes, yes …
The more you let go of the story and get out, the more intelligence will operate in your life. And the interesting thing is, that intelligence actually contributes enormously to that story. Coincidences and miracles come into your life.
Tell the universe, ‘Yes! Surprise me!’
What is the reality here, now? What’s the problem here, now? Become friends with what is, whatever form the present moment takes. What does that do to you inside?
What do you lack right now?
You are liberated, you no longer react, you become one with life. Then life lives through you. And life is intelligent. You wake up. And that is only possible now. You cannot expect it in the future.
Where I am now is where I need to be.
That one moment in the morning when you become aware that you are waking up, say YES. YES to the world, YES to the ability to live in this world, YES to the ability to breathe, YES to the sun rising, Yes to yourself becoming the best version of yourself for taking the next step.
You no longer degrade it to just a means to an end.
Hurry slowly, that is typically something present people can do. You stay with the calm and peace within you, even though you can be very quick externally. Think of martial arts, whether sheltering from the rain or the cold. Bring a ‘yes’ to it!
As the cat in Alice in Wonderland said, “Sometimes eternity lasts a second.” Let every second and every breath matter.
| 20 | Tip | Mindful awareness: When you say ‘yes’ to this moment, you are doing one thing at a time
Mindful awareness is the awareness that arises by paying attention to what you are doing. This is attention that has been “turned on” on purpose and without judgment. This theme is so important because the present moment is the only moment in which one can perceive, learn, grow and transform.
If you’re doing something, don’t do anything else at the time. Do one thing at a time. You then become a field of presence. And that does something special. Something flows in what you do, in your actions. It is a different kind of energy than when you reduce it to a means to an end. Doing becomes more intelligent.
Do not think of an answer in advance for what is to come later. Rely on this creative scene of ‘no answers yet.’ Don’t skip the treasures and intelligence of this moment.
| 21 | Tip | Pretend you are experiencing everything for the first time again
One attitude that brings us to the here and now is the attitude of discovery.
Today we learn to walk again.
Walking as if we were walking for the first time.
We feel the earth beneath our feet as if it were the first touch.
We feel the wind on our cheeks as if it were the first breeze in our lives.
We inhale the scent of the damp forest floor as if we have never smelled before.
We hear the birds chirping as if we have never heard a bird.
And we look at the colors as if our lives were a black and white film until now.
We walk like before, when we took our first steps as a toddler.
– Like Nhat Nanh
Also at Eindhoven central station you will be reminded not to be guided by the past:
Convention, a kind of memory, is the greatest obstacle to enjoying life and art.
– Quote from Piet Mondrian at Eindhoven central station
This is a beautiful day. I have not seen this day before.
– Maya Angelou
| 22 | Story | “How do I enter Zen (the art of doing one thing at a time)?”
“Master, how do I enter Zen ?”
The master remained silent.
After a while the master asked, “Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?”
The student was not aware that the sound of the mountain stream was there … He was thinking about how to enter Zen.
“Yes, I can hear it now.”
| 23 | Story | Realize that you already have the power of the here and now
Did you wonder ‘how’ you get to the here and now? Smart, there is no way here: you are already here. In fact, we are missing out, because we are too busy looking for something.
You can discontinue your search for home. You never left home.
– Jeff Foster
Enjoy the following metaphor that tells you that you have always had the power of the now in you.
A beggar sits for 30 years, day in and day out, on an old box along the street. One day a stranger passed by.
“Do you have some spare change?” Said the beggar with an old baseball cap handing out.
“I have nothing to give you.”
“What is that what you sit on?”
“Nothing. Just an old box. Been on it for years. “
“Ever looked into it?”
“What’s the point? There is nothing in it. ”
Have a look inside the box, ”said the stranger.
The beggar got it open. He is amazed to see that the box is filled with gold.
– From ‘The Power of Now’, Eckhart Tolle, free translation
You don’t have to get anything from anyone. All you need is someone to point out to you to look inside. In yourself. You already have something in it that is far more valuable than anything the world has to offer. Use meditation to bring you into the now, which you are actually already in.
You cannot look for the here and now. You already have it. You are otherwise on the horse, looking for the horse.
| 24 | Insight | The effect on other people and on your work
People feel a freedom about your presence, and want to be with you, which makes them like you, and which makes them more likely to agree with you. The business deal is no longer obsessive, while you can give it a lot of positive energy. People like you, and that means more results. And that while you no longer want results when you are present! The present moment is already complete, it is enough. The reason that you are not a good hairdresser, for example, is because you are not present. Your actions are then a means to an end.
| 25 | Insight | An extra short and nice explanation about the here and now
Watch the clear animated video below about Eckhart Tolle’s explanation of the here and now.
| 26 | Bonus tip | The two timeless books you must have read
There are perhaps few books that drop more quarters – and contain more wow moments – than these two books by Eckhart Tolle: read The Power of the Now and read A New Earth right after. It’s crazy what these books do to you just by reading the words. They belong in every bookcase.
This was the full explanation of the Here and Now