To some degree, we’re always fighting with the present. This is not a good strategy for a fulfilled life.
We spend pretty much every waking moment either striving, wanting, and holding on to what we have, or else fighting things we don’t like and avoiding what we don’t want. Almost every stimulus, external or internal, we judge as good or bad and we react to, consciously or subconsciously.
The external world gives us many challenges, but we also punish ourselves with a million thoughts. We reflect on things that have happened and tinker with memories to review, analyse, and wish things had been different. We project into the future with hopes and fantasies, clinging to ideas about who we are and who we want to become; the role we ought to play; how we might enhance our finances, status, or material gain.
If we’re not striving and struggling with all this, we may just try avoidance, distracting ourselves with social media or the TV, too much wine, or put off any difficult task that’s hovering.
This pattern takes up our energy and attention, and draws us away from the present. It hinders our capacity to live fully, now. We miss seeing opportunities, we may not tune in to other people’s emotional states, or may simply fail to appreciate the richness around us. It stops us living.
The key to living more fully, in every moment, is curiosity and acceptance. Curiosity means stepping back, and like a scientist, observing our experience through the senses and in our thoughts. Acceptance means not wishing anything to be otherwise – it is what it is.
This does not mean submission; it’s right that we work towards things getting better; but right now is the only time we have to live, so we better get that right. And that means being open and fearless to what is, now. After all, most of it is immaterial; just passing thoughts and silly habits, based on a cultural norm that we have taken on, rather than being clear for ourselves what really matters.
Fight the present and you will never win; cherish it, accept it and learn from it, and you start to awaken, moment by moment.
btw the image shows the blue Velella vellela, washed up on a West of Ireland beach. It’s a curious community of jellyfish-like micro-organisms that float in the oceans, forming a ‘sail’ that allows them to move to wherever the wind takes them.