What time is it? It’s right now. What
time was it three years, four months, seven days, twenty hours and
fifty three minutes ago? It was right now. What time will it be one
million years from now? It will be right now.
It’s always right now. There is no time like right now because there is no time except for this moment right now. Are you here right now? Or are you somewhere else? Somewhere in the past maybe? Reliving old memories. Or somewhere in the future? Living in your dreams.
Being in the moment is a concept that
has always flabbergasted me. I just couldn’t imagine how anyone could
try to live in the moment at every moment. I just couldn’t imagine
how it could be possible. This concept actually drove me away from
new age spiritual mysticism. Which was a good thing, but now this
concept has come back in a slightly different form, having discarded
it’s shiny spiritual robe, and it makes complete sense. It has, in
fact, changed me from my very core.
The sliver of difference between being in the moment and it’s always right now is that the first one is too hard, impossible even, for us humans. On top of that, being in the moment, every moment, would be highly impractical. It would be like being in a meditative trance for the rest of your life. And if you are in a trance, your life won’t be very long because you’ll be so busy in the moment that you will not be able to think of the immediate future and the food that you’ll need to survive. You might eat what you have in your home, and you might go out to eat when your home is dry, doing all of this while being in the moment, but eventually you’ll run out of money. And since you were in the moment, you won’t be thinking about money till it’s absence makes itself known in the present moment. You could try to go back to your job in the moment but your boss won’t like your new in-the-moment attitude. Even if you get your job back, since you are out of food and money and the first paycheck doesn’t arrive till the end of the week, you’ll starve in the moment before you can earn enough money to buy more food. Sure, you’ll be really blissful during your short life since you get into the meditative trance of being in the moment, but it will be super short.
It’s always right now points to a slightly different understanding of the same concept. It reminds you to bring your focus back to the present. It doesn’t tell you that you must not think about the past or future at all. You can do that. Sometimes in the present you have to remember the past and sometimes you have to plan the future. You can do both, but once you have done that, you need to bring your focus back to the present. Right now, is where life is happening. Right now, the person sitting in front of you is the life form you are interacting with. Right now, the emotions you are feeling are the emotions of life. Feel them. Don’t avoid them. Don’t hide from them. Don’t try to hold on to them. Feel them and let them go. Because by then the right now has changed. It’s never a little while ago and it’s never a little later. It’s always right now.
This is not about meditation and about
completely avoiding thoughts of past and future. It’s just a reminder
to remember that the past is gone and the future is uncertain.
Nothing you can do about either of them. The only thing you can do
anything about, is the present. Do something about it. Live it the
way you want to live your life. That’s it.
It’s always right now. There are many implications of this phrase.
First is to focus on the present as I already said. Second is to let go of emotions, good or bad. Third is to learn to be with the person you are with. This means to focus on one person at a time. If you are talking to someone, don’t chat with a few others on your phone. If you are chatting with someone on your phone, don’t engage with someone near you till you are ready for them. When you are in a group, don’t jump from one person to the other in an attempt to listen to all of them. They’ll all want to get your attention at the same time because they haven’t understood this phrase, but you have. So tackle them one by one. One person right now. Always.
Fourth implication is to be easy on yourself. A lot of us are too hard on ourselves. We keep thinking about all the little mistakes we’ve made in the past. The opportunity we didn’t go after, the social blunder we made at that party, the time when we were in the mall and didn’t realize we had something stuck between our teeth. We keep beating ourselves for being such clumsy fools, idiots, losers. But remember that all of that is in the past. Right now, you are who you are. Focus on right now.
A corollary to this is that you can’t take yourself too seriously either. People have big plans for themselves. They want to do things, achieve success, be a winner. They make plans and set goals and try to get as close to perfection as they can. But all of this is in the future, another time frame that isn’t real. Forget about it. Focus on right now. The reason people are never happy with themselves is because it’s really easy to imagine a perfect version of yourself in the future. You think if you can achieve these goals, maybe lose some weight, put on some muscles, get some tattoos, learn the guitar, earn this much money, do some adventure sports, get that promotion; if you can achieve this vision of perfection in the future, then you’ll be happy with yourself. You’ll be satisfied. This is what drives you forward. But the vision will always be better than the present. Because you’ll never be perfect, you’ll always find something to be unhappy about, in the right now. So stop comparing your present self to this insane vision of yourself in the future. It’s self torture. Accept yourself as the idiot you are right now. Focus on the right now. Be happy right now. So what if you are a little fat or if you don’t have any money or if you just blew that interview. So what? It doesn’t matter. It’s you. You are you right now and you’ll always be you right now. Stop judging yourself. Judgment comes when the focus shifts from the right now. In the right now, there is no room for judgment.
And that brings me to the fifth implication: stop judging others, while you are at it. They too are just who they are. Imperfect. Losers. Egoistic jerks. Self centered. Whatever. Let them be who they are. Don’t judge them. Don’t add to their self judgment. If someone says something mean, just let it go. You don’t like them right now, go away from them. Maybe you’ll like them when you meet them in some later right now. Don’t count on it. Don’t hope for it. Focus on the right now and move on. Be with the people you like right now.
The sixth implication is that we also need to stop judging human society. It is what it is. It can’t be perfect. And the present always seems horrible because we keep imagining a better future. Capitalism, consumerism, communism, whatever “ism” you hate, it doesn’t matter. It’s just what the society is right now. Sure, try to make it better by being a better member of it right now. But don’t focus entirely on the past and the future of society. That judgment only brings pain to you. Let the society be what it is. You be who you are. Maybe if everybody was who they truly are, we would have a much better society. But that once again is a future focused thought. Don’t focus too much on it. Be who you are. That’s it.
Always, remind yourself of what time it is. It’s always right now.