Most of the time we worry about events both past and future and have anxiety about them. This is the nature of mind since it thinks either about the future or about the memories of the past. I feel that happiness and peace of mind can come if we are anchored in “now”.
“Now” is very difficult to define because by the time we get down to it, it is already in the past! Even, Einstein, who was the high priest of time, always remarked that we do not understood “now”. He said we understand both future and past, but it is very difficult to grasp “now”. Thus for practical purposes “now” can be defined as work in hand and living on day-to-day basis!
Quite a number of people feel that we need to think about the future also, since most of us live on hope. There is nothing wrong with it and in fact, the mind-expanding process automatically starts thinking of future and hope. However, this “hope thinking” should only occupy a small fraction of our time; with major portion devoted to “now”.
Being anchored in “now” is how nature evolves. It comes in equilibrium with all the forces at a given time and then the next evolutionary step takes place. This happens since nature takes time and effort to remain anchored in that period and evaluates all the probable pathways. In case it cannot come in equilibrium with the surroundings then it branches into the path that can do so and the branch, which could not come in equilibrium, withers away and dies.
There is a great lesson for us in this. If we are anchored in “now” then by coming in equilibrium with all the forces around us we resolve the conflict and can live sustainable and happy lives. If we do not then our efforts and energies go in vain since too much thinking about the future leads to anxiety and frustration, as they are not in our control.
The old saying, “We will cross the bridges when we reach them”, is apt for this situation. It helps us to concentrate on the work in hand and hence allows us to be anchored in “now”.
In addition, the path to future becomes clear when we conquer “now” since by delving deeply in the work at hand it gives us the ability to grasp the opportunities that come our way. Also this single-minded focus enlightens us and gives better sight!
It is also a sobering thought that the evolutionary forces are so powerful that, no matter how much we continue to think of the future and “will it”, we are all swept away by the “band” of evolution. Our tiny efforts in the long run only help to propel this band.
The ability to anchor in “now” also prevents us from dwelling on any negative events of the past. Thus, the cycle of bad memories and their consequences is forgotten or resolved. This is the genesis of peace of mind and happiness.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to remain anchored in the present because the brain keeps on either dwelling on the past memories or keeps on making movies for the future. Brain is a dynamic entity and its internal churning and the sensory inputs results in continuous thought production. This is how brain chatter takes place.
The only way to stop this chatter and be anchored in “now” is to focus on the work in hand or a single thought for a long time. This is the basis of Sanyam of Patanjali Yoga darshan. When we get anchored in “now” through Sanyam then it allows our brains to function optimally and helps us to see the opportunities present at that time. Thus the whole basis of Yoga is to be anchored in now!