He has a thousand activities: biking, snowboarding, playing video games, reading, listening to music. He jumps from one to another with great enthusiasm.
He never wants to go to sleep, fearing he might miss another opportunity to have fun, learn something, or find a good song to listen to.
Yet, when he does decide to hit the sack, he falls asleep almost immediately. He’s filled with a curiosity, a genuine joy for life.
His philosophy of time is similar to one I’ve read much about lately. Eckhart Tolle once wrote “The past has no power over the present moment.” My brother relates almost exclusively to the immediate present. I believe this ability to be a gift of youth and the result of much practice.
It is important to learn our lessons from the past but not to let it linger in our minds. Ruminating like this gets us nowhere and can take over our emotions creating feelings of anxiety, worry and regret. This is why we should pay close attention to the message Mr. Tolle has shared with us. We should not let the past have power over the way we feel in the present moment.
A similar scenario unfolds if we are always caught up wondering what the future holds for us. We become fixated on fantasies and moments that don’t yet exist. Our bodies react by becoming excited, anxious and we may even feel fear and apprehension.
Accept the present moment for what it is- good or bad- and then act. Whatever that moment may contain, accept it as if you had chosen it. Work with it, not against it. Make your mind an ally, not an enemy. It is said by many thinkers that this will miraculously transform your entire life.
We’re always placing our mind on one object or another. In peaceful abiding, we ground our mind in the present moment. This mindfulness is taught by many eastern philosophers, including Sakyong Mipham He teaches in his novel “Turning the Mind Into an Ally” that when we notice our thoughts and emotions getting out of control, we should “return to the breath”. Concentrating on the breath is taught in many cultures and has proven to have many benefits. It will bring us back to the present moment and, if we are breathing slowly and consistently, is shown to activate a part of our brain associated with relaxation. This “yogi” or “diaphragmatic” breathing is great for relieving stress as well as remaining grounded in the present.
Another technique that Ekhart Tolle shares with us is to try and empty our minds, with the final thought being “I wonder what my next thought will be”. We then sit, enjoying the silence of our minds; we’re in the present moment. When a new thought occurs, we take inventory of that thought without judging it. We let it pass and again ask ourselves “I wonder what my next thought will be”. It is my experience that if we practice this technique the amount of time between thoughts gradually increases with practice.
Many of us are guilty of putting our lives on hold pending some resolution. We say, “When my life is better, I’ll be able to start focusing on positive things”. This is a big mistake. Start NOW! When you give in to what is and become fully present, the past ceases to have power over you. Seize the day and use these techniques to achieve holistic wellness.
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