Many spiritual teachers encourage us to live in the Now; it is a state of consciousness we should strive to experience in our life. What exactly is the Now? There are two different types of “Now”: the Present Now and the Eternal Now.
The Present Now is what exists in time. It’s part of the continuum we know of as past-present-future. To live in the Now is to live fully in the present moment. Our awareness is completely centered on the here and now. You are not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When you live in the present, you are living where life is happening.
The Eternal Now has nothing to do with time, nothing to do with past, present or future. It is a state of awareness that is outside of time, altogether.
Time stops when our consciousness enters the Eternal Now. There is a profound sense of stillness and peace that pervades everything. There is Silence, Pure Being, Presence, Love, Joy, Peace, Creativity, Continuous Newness that is ever unfolding. Everything feels fresh and exciting. We are One with Everything. This is Reality. We are Home.
How do we enter the Eternal Now? From personal experience, I think that it’s easier for those who meditate regularly to enter this state. One of the best ways to enter the Eternal Now is to be fully in the Present Now. Living life fully in the present moment is the doorway to the Eternal Now.
How to Start Living in the Present Now
1. Practice Being Conscious (or Mindfulness)
Bring yourself totally present to what is happening in the here and now. Whether we are cleaning the house or eating a cookie, our mind is focused on whatever we are doing. We are not fantasizing about being on vacation or worrying about the work piling up on our desks. We are simply living in the moment.
2. Practice Gratitude
Be thankful for what is already in your life. This will bring you back to the present moment. Make a list of what you are thankful for right now. If you are thankful for what is, you’ll be happy to be in the moment.
3. You Are Not Your Thoughts
When you live in the present moment, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Simply witness your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away.
4. Watch Your Breath
By noticing your breathing pattern your mind naturally quiets and pays more attention to the present moment.
5. Take Notice of the World
No matter what you’re doing, notice the moments that surround you. Noticing puts you emphatically in the here and now. It imbues each moment with a new, fresh quality.
When you are at the beach, listen to the waves of water crashing along the shore. Watch an elderly couple walking along the sand, with a golden retriever running happily ahead. Smell the fresh ocean breeze as it envelopes you and helps to clear your mind.
6. Total Absorption
Minimize activities that dull your awareness of the moment. What are you doing that bores you and causes your mind run away from the present? Find activities that totally engage your attention and do them. Some activities include crocheting, playing a musical instrument, writing, reading, gardening and painting. Total absorption occurs when you’re so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you. Hours can pass without you noticing. Perhaps this is the most complete way of living in the moment.
Benefits of Living in the Present Now
1. Physical health benefits: Stress reduction, boost immune functioning, chronic pain reduction, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps patients cope with cancer.
2. Mental benefits: Conscious people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic and more secure.
3. Taking control of your life: You are giving up your personal power when you live in the past or the future. If there are changes you’d like to make in life, the only place you can do it is in the present. If you’re living in the past, you can’t do anything about it because it has already passed. If you’re worrying about the future, you’re living somewhere that hasn’t happened yet.
4. Reducing self-consciousness: When you are focusing on what you’re doing, you don’t worry about what others think of your performance, whether it be dancing or making a speech in front of an audience. By reducing self-consciousness, mindfulness allows you to witness the passing drama of feelings, social pressures, even of being esteemed or disparaged by others without taking their evaluations personally.
5. Living in the present moment makes people feel more connected to other people—that empathic feeling of being at One with the Universe.