We have the ability to look forward, just as much we have the ability to look back or be present in the moment. Contentment of life depends quite a bit how much attention we fix on any of the states.
A year ago, I was browsing through a book of strategy at my friend’s place and there was this rough division of attention 70/20/10. 70 % in the present, 20% in the future 10% in the past. These figures have stuck with me ever since then and I think it’s rather applicable.
We feel most alive when we are doing things, and this requires us to be present most of the time and taking action. What justifies more of the time spent on future, rather than in the past is simply that we cannot change the past, but we can create the future by taking action in the present. Therefore, it is necessary to remember a little bit more of the time what do we want to achieve and why.
Then once we have done our thing, we can sit back and reflect on what we did, how did it turn out and what did we learn from it.
Past is a place to learn and to be satisfied with the present, this line summarizes it very well: “Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”
Epicurus put even some more advice in to the similar thought: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
If we keep trying, it’s almost inevitable that we will succeed eventually. Our present comes therefore the utopia that we once dreamed of.
Time is human concept, that there are sequences of time. We cannot time travel, we can attempt to remember based on our sense of reality how things were.
Crazy thing about this concept of time and especially history is that because of our limited capabilities, our understanding is severely limited especially about the facts. We are severely limited.
Despite the facts being limited, it doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Quite the opposite in fact, that’s one of the wonderful things in life: striving to become a little bit better.
Therefore we should get better at using each moment we have, each present moment at a time a little bit more skillfully. Present is all that we have and time is the stack of those present moments that end up.
Do you feel like you would like to have some more time? Great, so does everyone else, yet no-one can make that decision for themselves. We cannot make the decision, however we can improve our odds at it.
You may think each decision during the either adding to your life or taking away from it. Think carefully which kind of decision you want to add there? This is a humbling exercise that helped me to realize what and who really matters in life. Not all time spent is equal. Some time can have tremendous impact in short time, while other time feel like a blackhole that is draining you even after the time.
Do not hide behind the excuse: I do not have time. You have time, it’s your decision how do you use it and what do you put in that time.
“It’s not how many hours you put in, it’s what you put in the hours.” – Sam Ewin
Joy is not very permanent thing as is not happiness either. Actually closest thing to a permanent it’s when we accept our fate and learn to be happy with it.
From my past suffering I’ve learned not to escape the present suffering. Often I still do wrong decisions that actually cause more suffering. Best response towards the present suffering is to accept it and learn to love the fate. Amor fati.
So with this in mind, if I do not feel joy it’s sign for me to still work on myself. Solution is not to seek joy from other people, or substances. What I’ve found is that mostly takes some rest, quiet meditation and clarification of priorities.
Nature of suffering arises something that we did or didn’t do and then we start to feel helpless. However, once we regain the sense of control and are able to do something the joy starts to come back.
Start from the inner joy. Drink only to celebration so to speak. Strengthen that which is right with the world focus less on everything else.
Loving the present moment makes life magical.
No more clinging to the past.
No more desiring for the future.
Focusing and enjoying the present releases energy to be happy. When we are happy we tend to be more cheerful and creative. This translates to productivity and social likability as well.
We can work from the present to increase the odds of good things happening in the future. However whatever happens, our life experience is limited to the present.
Loving what you have is easier said than done. Personally I find it easy to accept present and love it after 16th Karmapa meditation.
Solution orientation is often heard, less practiced.
Masterful way to practice solutions orientation would mean ability to produce three possible solutions to any given situation and then give recommendation of choice of these three.
It sounds easier than it is, as situations in life come and go quick. Therefore it is a skill that falls into “lifetime to master” -category.
What I find interesting about solutions orientation is that the attitude of challenging status quo and courageously bringing something better into the present moment.
Therefore solutions orientated attitude is not only about communication, but also about creativity and ability to create social value for others.
How are you going to create more value through solutions oriented attitude in your encounters, today, next week and next month?
The more of these two we have in our lives, the better our life starts to get. Especially if the ownership is paired with action to improve the thing. If the thing cannot be improved, then there is nothing much to worry about.
Today I made interesting association with the ownership. Taking ownership of the time: not complaining about the time, accepting and prioritizing based on that. It feels powerful. The idea once again comes from The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, where he explains the idea of Einstein time. Belief that we are the creators of our time and if we focus to that we will have more time in our hands.
As Seneca put it, we never have time for everything, yet we have time for the important things. This seems to be the golden rule in thinking about the time: what is important and what is not.
Ownership of the thoughts and the words that we let out transforms everything. It’s not irrelevant what we say or how we say it: because that does not only reinforce our own thinking but affects others as well.
Full ownership means having all the control we can have and it is the key in mastering the one time where we can affect things: present.
In short I’ve fallen for stoicism. During the January I’ve re-read two books on stoicism: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday. Also currently I am reading Ego is the Enemy and I will read the Daily Stoic.
Stoicism is a practical and applied philosophy of a virtuous life. If you cannot practice the thought or virtue, it’s not stoicism. Being a stoic means having inner dialogue, finding what you are in control of and then living the best life you can from there with no complaints about the circumstances or about results. Stoicism is about action, not about attaching to the rewards.
Living the best you can in the present, because stoic recognizes life is only in the present. Nobody can change the past, however with the action in the present we create future. Nor does stoic gets attached to the future – everything goes to the plan because we are creating the plan every moment as we go. Stoic cannot be thus harmed by ill will, because stoic turns any obstacle into opportunity or dies trying.
Literally stoic recognizes the shortness of life: memento mori – remember you are mortal.
It’s only now time to be what you can be. It’s now when you should start not only being, but start the doing. Be the doing you can be!
I decided to modify the words of Gandhi: Do the change you want to see in the world. Doing is being, do not just talk, start doing something about what you want! In the end we never cannot be still to long, we are never complete, perfection is just a day dream. Excellence is what we should pursue. Excellence means the best we are capable of with the given time and resources. We do not need to commit overly too much resources, that would be foolish, yet we need just enough to create excellence, the best possible solution.
Excellence requires letting go and yet finding ways to fulfill the need completely. Excellence is the practice of virtues. Every day we become what we can be if we practice excellence. The time to practice excellence is now!
Present is the wonderful state, in which you have everything you will ever have or ever need. Your past cannot be taken away from you, or you cannot lose your future just because it has been promised to you. Only real time is the present, others are just fragments of the past and future has not yet decided how it will appear.
Do not worry about past, you cannot change it.
Do not worry about future, you cannot control it.
Focus to the tiny portion of the present in which you are in control.
“Present is all we have, no past or future cannot be taken away from us.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Be fully present, inhale, exhale! Those are the joys of life. Just as the breath, life is full of energy going in and out. World has plenty of energy, plenty of possibilities, plenty of time!
World is abundant place when you sharpen what it is you want to do in the present moment. At the present moment you only have a space for one thing, you have chosen wisely, make sure to keep choosing wisely!
Have a great present moment!
Where ever you are and where ever you want to go, start now.
There are really no excuses to procrastinate. The life you want, you can start living it right away.
Here are some examples:
- You want to jog more? Go out and start do it!
- You want to start a vlog? Start with whatever video cam or your mobile phone and do it!
- You want to write? Start typing!
- You want to accumulate wealth? Start saving from what you have, to look for opportunities with that that amount!
Too often the people who I talk with have barriers between their ideas and action. In reality, there are no excuses to start doing. In fact the most important thing you can do after an idea is to take action. Then keep doing that action on each day until it becomes a habit. Then keep that habit until it becomes your identity.
What is it you would like to do? Start now!
We do not have anything more than the present. We do not have our past and certainly not our future.
Suffering is created by clinging either to the past or the future.
If we go to past or the future we are distancing ourselves from the present. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of suffering, because if we are going to past or the future, we will lose present again.
All that we have is now, the present. Present includes everything. Buddha understood this very well and he also understood about the thinking and action which leads to these results.
In addition to the present, our present mindfulness or our thinking is all that we have. In fact we are not our thinking, because we can observe our thinking. Yet only few of us consciously exercise this human superpower called ‘thinking critically what we are thinking.’
We shouldn’t let our thinking taint our present experience, because present is all that we have. We should come to accept what we have and be happy with that 🙂