It’s so easy to slip out of the present moment. Without noticing one can drift off to numerous places in the past or the future without even realizing your attention has ventured somewhere else. Daydreaming, worrying, ruminating, fantasizing, lusting, judging--any one of those hooks can pull us away from right now.
What is it about the present moment that makes it so difficult for us to stay there? I know you probably think I’m going to suggest mindfulness, but I’m not. I just want to explore why remaining in this moment is so challenging. Why am I constantly anticipating the next and the next and the next?
In this moment everything is as it is. Nothing is overwhelming or too stressful, but the minute I think about the future or the past, my mood changes. Why do we dwell in the past and wait with bated breath for the future? Why do I squander right now? So much suffering occurs from being unable to rest in this moment. The past is resolved now. The future begins now.
Caller ID identifies her. She's calling to tell me she can no longer tolerate her pain, for the one hundredth time. I listen. I validate. I empathize. I suggest. I struggle to remain in the right now. She wants to drag me into the past or push me into the future as she anticipates more pain on the horizon, as a result she has no right now. Perhaps it's a defense against the pain, but for her right now does not exist. It can't exist. When coping skills do not exist, right now can't exist. Coping skills enable us to reside in the moment.
Her effect on me is interesting. I want to remain situated with her in this moment while simultaneously wanting to flee without her into the next moment. It's uncomfortable to watch her struggle unable to make the lifestyle changes necessary to reduce her suffering. Primarily due to her being unable to utilize the current moment. Right now has suddenly become painful for both of us. We tug on the moment. She pushes. I pull.
There is no escape for either one of us. We are stuck in this moment no matter how skillful either one of us is at denying it. I let go by no longer trying to urge her to change. I feel better. I am suddenly able to appreciate her and her struggle. We both survive another moment. Right now.