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The Present Moment Is All You Ever Have

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A couple of days ago, a friend of mine asked me if I found the past and future to be more real than the present moment. Why are you asking me this? – I asked him. He said: Well, after all, our goals for the future determine what actions we take now. And the past determines how we behave in the present as well as who we are, and how we perceive the present moment.

It’s a tricky question, isn’t it?

Well, let me ask you something: Have you ever felt, thought, done, or experienced anything outside the present moment? The answer is pretty evident and simple, isn’t it?

The answer is: Nothing will ever happen in the future – it’ll happen in the present.

And nothing ever occurred in the past – it occurred in the present.

The things you perceive as the past are just a memory trace which is kept in your mind and reactivated when you think about the past. Similarly, the future is a self-created, imagined present. It’s something that your mind projects.

So, we can conclude that the past and the future don’t have their own reality. They “borrow” their reality from everything that happens in the present.

So, what you need to do is to accept the power of the present. Detach yourself from time. Stop living in the past. Stop thinking about what the future may bring you. Both the past and future are illusory.

So, the question is: How can you access and embrace the power of the present?

Free yourself from identification with your mind – it’s as simple as that.

Because when you identify with your mind, this creates an incessant preoccupation with both past and future as well as an unwillingness to accept the Now and let it be. This preoccupation arises since the past offers you an identity and the future promises you fulfillment and salvation. But, the truth is that both of them are illusory.

What’s real and truly precious is the present. Because it remains constant. Because it’s free of time. And because it’s the only space where your entire life unfolds and you can undergo a deep inner transformation.

So, break the old pattern of resisting and denying the present moment. Detach yourself from the time dimension as much as you can in everyday life. And instead of constantly being trapped in your mind, learn to observe it. The more you observe it, i.e. the more you observe your emotions, thoughts, and reactions in different situations, the more aware of the present moment you will be.

And once you’ve embraced the present, you’ll realize that time is the cause of all your problems or suffering. You’ll realize that they’re caused by your identification with your mind. Because stress, anxiety, fear, and worry are all caused by imagining the future and not being aware of the present moment. And sadness, grief, resentment, bitterness, and guilt are caused by thinking about and living in the past, and not being aware of and accepting the present.

So, if you want to stop creating any more problems and pain in your life, detach yourself from time. Live in and embrace the present moment. Don’t judge it. Don’t doubt it – just accept what it has to offer you. Don’t try to ignore it, escape it, or deny it. Because the present moment is all you ever have.

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Riley Cooper