Acceptance: Living in the present moment
I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about “living in the moment.” Certain self-help gurus make reference to “living in the present moment” and “the now.” This conversation about the “now” caught my attention; I found it intriguing. But I had trouble understanding it because it’s such an abstract idea. Those who are intellectual – pundits, PhD’s, smarty-pants – tend to navigate quite comfortably in the arena of the abstract. I try to follow along but after twenty minutes or so I’m quite lost and confused, not because what they are saying is B.S. but because I think in more concrete terms.
It seems to me that this phrase “the present moment” was designed to teach us about our lack of awareness, the tendency to drift into the illusion of the past and the future. We create in our minds another “reality” where we can go to avoid this “present moment.” It’s a make-believe place we have created that is very real, but it exists only in our minds.
If we had no concept of past or future, we would not have any concept of this present moment. That’s because we would have no concept of time; we would exist in an eternal state. The “present moment” is really a reference to the awareness of an eternal state. The phrase has meaning only in relation to the past and the future, which don’t exist. (Are you still with me?)
As humans we have no choice but to think in terms of the past, the present and the future. We have memories (good and bad) of the past, and we have expectations (positive and negative) about the future. But we can also be aware of what it is; nothing more than a mental construct that explains our memories (the past) and our expectations (the future).
Acceptance is “letting go” of the past and the future by realizing that the past and the future is a collection of thoughts that we review on a regular basis. They’re just thoughts, things that we can learn to control. Acceptance allows us to let go of our regrets: our self-loathing, our guilt, our resentment, all the anger, jealousy and envy. This stuff comes from our concept of the past. We also let go of our fear and anxiety, our worry, and our dread of what the future holds.
Acceptance does something else for us: It helps us to embrace who we are. Acceptance gives us the freedom to recognize that we are a perfect creation, and that we are worthy of God’s blessings. In our sinful (pre-conversion) state, we have some pretty strange beliefs about God and ourselves. Acceptance allows us to see the truth about ourselves and about God. Surrendering to God (your Higher Power) is the beginning of eternal life in a state of grace.
Tomorrow’s topic – Acceptance: The reality of ‘right now’