“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
During recent travels, I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on the plane…and I can’t believe it was my first time reading it! What a beautiful story with such amazing messages. What stood out most for me was the lesson in following your heart (future post on that one ;) and letting go of one’s fear of failure. However, living in the moment was at the root of each part of the story. It is a message I’ve discussed countless times on this site…but since this is about living in the moment — there is only now…so I’ll discuss again ;)
I recently shared an article with a friend which discussed how those with perfect memories often suffer more depression than others. Their memory causes them to repeat the stories of the past over and over again in their minds…never quite letting them break free. In quiet moments, past (and often painful) memories resurface and bring those feelings back. The article discusses how the past can poison the present. And for many of those with excellent memories, there is actually a temptation to live in the past.
Since my memory is often not so great (something I count as a blessing!), this article put into focus what it might be like to be on the other side of the coin…to remember everything. I actually know people with extraordinary memories (I’m pretty sure my father falls into this group!) and I felt sad reading the article…knowing that they must face tremendous difficulty keeping the poisonous past at bay.
In the moments that I start to reflect on the past, I find tremendous freedom in re-focusing my attention on the present moment. However, when that doesn’t work, I’ve found The Work of Byron Katie to be absolutely amazing…she turns it all upside down and basically teaches that none of your thoughts are real…they are all imagined!
If we create thoughts and memories…why then can’t we un-create them?!
If we instead choose to understand that all of our thoughts of the past are completely made up (by us!)…and live free of all of that past baggage…we can live life in each present moment. And there we find true happiness ;)
Photo source: today is… by Sarah Lee