Living in the present moment and feeling the joy of life doesn’t just happen, we have to choose to be there.
Where are you now? Are you enjoying the present moment or escaping into the past or present?
It feels good to feel good. That’s why we reach for things to experience – simply because we want to feel good. But so often we are spending time looking at goals up ahead, thinking, ‘when I get there’ or ‘when I get this or that then I will be happy’.
This busy world has mislead us with its constant demands on our time (or time poverty, as described here) and has become a distraction from the joy we could be experiencing right now. Our minds get caught up in mental whirlwinds that take us off course and away from being aware. We find ourselves like sleepwalkers, drifting though the moments mindlessly, doing our routines, tending to our responsibilities, and missing out on what is here right now. Or, we constantly wish we had the time to enjoy life. We are tired from pulling the wagon, and we long to stop and smell the roses.
We move toward the goals on our to-do list thinking, ‘when I have done this or have that, I will make the time to rest, relax and enjoy’, but we never arrive at that place. There is always something else to be done and something else to have. We want to feel better and think that when we get ‘there’ we will feel better, but it is a delusion. There is no better than here. When your ‘there’ has become a ‘here’ you will simply obtain another ‘there’ that will again look better than here.
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” [Benjamin Franklin]
Losing our now moments
While we are starting at A and are working towards B we fail to notice that there are many moments in between A and B that get lost by not living in the now. We seek happiness in a place beyond now and when we get there it still doesn’t exist so we create another thing, goal or person to focus on in the future and again lose our now moments.
You can’t see where you are going if you keep looking back into the past, and by constantly looking ahead all the time the now will be missed. The past cannot be changed. The future has not yet arrived. The now is all you have and that is what must count. If you are happy now then there is a very good chance that all your ‘nows’ will also be happy and the future will take care of itself.
There is no other way to live fully and completely than to live in the now. When I look at little children, their joy is evident. It clearly radiates from them. Children are truly happy and content in the moment because they are totally immersed in the present. They are uplifting to be around and they intuitively know that happiness is being directly in the present. They simply know how to be. This is something many of us have forgotten, as we have become more focused on having rather than being, forgetting how to play and enjoy our very precious moments.
Every moment offers a choice for joy
Even with the best intentions, we can slip away from being aware slowly over time, and we don’t notice the change. The pieces of straw fall on us gradually. We don’t notice until we are covered completely and feel like we are suffocating. What happened to the joyful, happy, playful children we used to be? Are we just children who have grown sour by isolating ourselves from enjoying the now and knowing how to just be?
Every moment offers a choice. What are you choosing? Are you choosing to be in the moment or are you living in the past? Perhaps you are suspended in time waiting for the future to feel the joy and to be happy? The seeds that you plant in your mind will grow, so why not plant joy, happiness, and appreciation and have the faith that if you take care of the present moment, the future will take care of itself.?
It’s not circumstances that create joy, it’s you. Living in the present moment and feeling the joy of life doesn’t just happen, we have to choose to be there (read about three other ways to find joy here). We have to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future and be present. Be aware, be awake and learn how to be. We joy our way to joy by deciding to give joy to the heart and bring light to the eyes.
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