19 December 2009

Living in the Present

Living in the present is to be aware of what is happening to you, what you are doing and what you are feeling and thinking. It is being conscious of your thoughts and focusing them on the present. In this way you look at situations as they are, without coloring them with your past experiences. Living in such a way makes it easier to deal with whatever you are doing at the present moment. You see things as they are, without being influenced by fears, anger, desires or attachments.

Next time you catch yourself thinking idly, watch the thoughts that flow through your mind, what are they? Are you trying to relive the past? Maybe you are reassessing past behavior or events? Maybe you are thinking how it would have been if you acted differently. Are you enacting past events in your mind? Even thoughts and daydreams about the future are colored by past experiences.

If your past experiences of relationships were pleasant and positive, that is how you going to think about your future relationships. If the experiences were negative, that is how you are going to visualize your future. It is always the past recreating your life.

You probably think sometimes about what someone told you, how someone treated you, how you did this or that. It is always about the past. You are letting the past captivate you and influence your behavior. Reliving the past is recreating it constantly. You are not letting change enter your life. It is all right to recreate the past if it was pleasant, but why repeat in your mind if it was unpleasant?

There is a story about two friends traveling by train. One was very nervous, restless and full of complaints the whole trip. He was impatient to reach his destination, and disliked every moment of the trip. He did not pay attention to his surroundings, as his mind was full of impatient, restless and grumpy thoughts.

His friend, on the other hand, enjoyed the scenery, drank a cup of coffee, ate a piece of cake and chatted with the other passengers. He enjoyed every moment the trip. He lived in the present moment and made the most of it. On arrival he was fresh and felt good. His friend, as expected, arrived exhausted, tired and unhappy.

It is a matter of the right attitude. Life becomes a happy and enjoyable trip when the attitude toward it and its events is positive, and the present moment is used in the best possible way.

Living in the present means concentrating on what is happening now, enjoying it and making the most of it.
Do you know how many opportunities are missed due to dwelling on the past, instead of seeing and being conscious of what is happening at the present moment? When our mind is elsewhere we behave like robots, and repeat the same mistakes of the past, do the same things, and then complain that our life is dull and uninteresting.

Wake up to the present moment and live in it. The past happened and passed, so what is the use of reliving it? Do you enjoy reliving it? If it is a pleasant experience that's okay. You may wish to relive it and recreate it in your life. But why repeat the same event again, if it was an unhappy one? Why do you repeat something that has caused you pain?

We are usually unaware of the process of thinking that is going on in our heads. We repeat the same thoughts as a matter of habit. They come and we do not resist them. We welcome them even if they are unpleasant. We get used to our thoughts and habits, even if we do not admit it. In this way they become stronger and more powerful. As our minds recreate our past, we find that the present is always the mirror of the past. Then nothing new happens and we complain that life is always the same, that nothing changes. Weird, foolish, tragic and funny at the same time, isn't it?

By being aware of your thoughts and feelings, it becomes easier to be a little more detached. When you are detached you become able to choose how to react to people, events and circumstances, which can save yourself a lot of inconvenience, trouble and embarrassment.

Living in the present means concentrating on what you are doing each moment.
This develops and strengthens your powers of concentration and attention, which among other things, enhance your ability to study and do your work more quickly and efficiently. Concentrating on what you are doing also helps you to make fewer mistakes and conduct yourself and your affairs in a better way.

You become enslaved by thoughts and emotions and lose your freedom by living in the past, and thinking and visualizing events that have already happened. On the other hand, concentrating on the present moment, on what is happening or what you are doing right now, frees you of unnecessary, burdensome and unpleasant thoughts, and you gain peace of mind.

Stop reading for a moment, and remind yourself of several occasions, when you were engrossed in what you were doing, and believe me, there were a lot of these moments. Did you ever read a book and forgot for a while everything else? Were you engrossed in a pleasant movie, enjoying your hobby or eating very delicious food? In these moments you did not think about anything else. You were happy, calm and content and free from obsessing and futile thoughts. You were concentrating on what you were doing. This is the great power and meaning of living in the present.

Remember, the present moment is very brief. It always turns immediately into the past. The future has not happened. Live in the present.

Constant living and awareness of the present develop a new kind of awareness-consciousness. It is awareness of freedom, of being alive, of happiness and joy. You come to realize the peace, calmness, joy and freedom from thoughts that the mystics talk about. You find out experimentally that what they are talking about is nothing mysterious, mystical or out of this life. You find that this is a most natural and positive state.

Refuse to relive the past. Change the videocassette in your mind!

Enjoy the present moment!

Find the positive, good and useful in each moment!

Spiritual Growth Benefits, Tips and Suggestions

By Remez Sasson

Spiritual growth is an important inner process, not only for people who live in far away and secluded places, and who seek spiritual awakening. Spiritual growth is of paramount importance for a better, happier and more harmonious life, free of tension and strain, fear and anxiety.

Spiritual growth is the process of getting rid of wrong concepts, thoughts and beliefs about who we are and about the world in which we live. Through this process we increase our awareness of our true inner being, the true spirit that we are. It is a process of looking inside us, shedding our illusions and uncovering our true essence, which is always present, but hidden beyond the ego-personality.

Why should we be interested in spiritual growth? What are the signs that we are growing spiritually? What are the benefits? Here are a few signs and benefits:

# We develop detachment, which leads to inner peace.

# We learn not to let outside circumstance affect our moods and states of mind.

# We become more patient and tolerant.

# We learn to rise above frustration, disappointment and negative feelings.

# Inner power and strength increase.

# This process leads to increased feeling of happiness.

# Our intuition gets sharper.

# We become better citizens of the world.

# Our understanding of our inner essence, what we are, and why we are here grows.

How can one grow spiritually? The term spiritual growth is not really correct. The spirit is perfect and does not need to grow. It is a term that describes a process of becoming more aware of what and who we are, growing to look at our life and circumstances from a different, more detached point of view, and of putting things into the proper perspective. It is a process of shedding negative and limiting habits, thoughts and beliefs, and letting the inner self within us shine out.

Imagine a radiant bulb of light, hidden beneath layers of various materials. To let the light of the bulb shine out and illuminate the surroundings, you do not have to strengthen the light or change the bulb. All you have to do is to take away the layers that are covering it. As you remove layer after layer the light shines more radiantly and strongly.

How do you remove the layers that are covering the light of your inner self? You do so through positive thinking, reading spiritual literature, reading spiritual quotes, and by practicing concentration, meditation and other inner training techniques. If you browse this website, you will find a lot of information, advice and instructions for spiritual growth.

Here are a few suggestions to start you on the road of spiritual growth:

# Acknowledge the fact that you are a spirit with a physical body, not a physical body with a spirit. If you can accept this idea, it will change your attitude toward many things in your life.

# Look inside you, and try to find out what it is that makes you feel alive.

# Make an effort to think positively. If you find yourself thinking negatively, immediately direct your mind to thinking on something positive. Open the door for the positive and close it for the negative.

# Always try to look at the bright side of life. Your inner self is stronger than your circumstances. Don't let circumstances and situations dictate to you how to feel or think.

# Endeavor to focus your attention on everything you do, instead of letting your attention go wherever it desires.

# Start learning and practicing meditation.

# Do your best to be tolerant, patient, tactful and considerate.

# Thank the Universe for everything that you get.