January 18
It's not that "today
is the first day of
the rest of my life,"
but that now is all
there is of my life.

Hugh Prather


Today's Meditation:

I think that Hugh has a problem with the people who focus on the idea that "starting now, I can be a better (or different) person."  Personally, I don't have any problem with the concept, but I can see Hugh's point quite clearly--the more we stay focused on what we're going to do with the rest of our lives, the less we allow ourselves to commit to living the present moment for all that it's worth.

"Now is all there is of my life," he says, and he's right.  Your next moment, ten minutes from now, two weeks from now--none of these things is guaranteed.  And what happens two weeks from Thursday is completely out of our control.  What will happen will happen, and we may be able to influence it, but we certainly can't control it.  The present moment, lived fully with enthusiasm and love and attention and awareness, truly is all there is of our lives.  And once it's done, it will be replaced by another present moment, another "now." 

When all is said and done, life is simply a series of "nows."  How we live those nows depends on us.  I don't want to stay focused on the rest of my life because if I do, I'm taking away from the potential of this moment.  Yes, I prepare for the future, and I prepare for retirement, and I prepare for what may come later, but even that preparation is accomplished in my present moments, in my nows. 

At this moment, you have the entire world full of possibilities at your disposal.  If you decide that you want to travel around the world, you have the potential to do so, if you spend your nows preparing for it and raising the money for it.  If you want a stronger relationship, then you can spend your nows improving that relationship.  If you want a better job, you can spend your nows learning more about your work and improving your performance.  But please, don't waste the present moment by putting your focus on some future moment that may or may not get here.

Questions to consider:

What resources are available to you right here, right now? 

How might you improve your experience of the now?  How might you get more out of each present moment as it arrives?

Why do so few people keep their minds, their hearts, and their attention on right now? 

For further thought:
Many people live as if life were a dress rehearsal for some later date.  It isn't.  In fact, no one has a guarantee that he or she will be here tomorrow.  Now is the only time we have, and the only time that we have any control over.  When our attention is in the present moment, we push fear from our minds. . . . Practice keeping your attention on the here and now.  Your efforts will pay great dividends.

Richard Carlson


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