Living in the present could aptly be described as a contented cat that's curled into a ball and warming itself by a fire. Much can be learned by observing cats. They live in the present more than any creature we know. All animals live in the present, of course, but cats in particular have turned it into an art form. Neither concerned about the past or the future, cats forever focus on the "now." With a grace and agility in life similar to a ballet dancer, the cat dances through its existence as if the music never stops. This may sound exhausting to some of you, but understand that the cat is a creature of the moment; it never concerns itself with future moments or moments that have slipped away. The cat simply IS.
We see living in the past, on the other hand, as a giant canvas, splashed chaotically with the emotions of distant yearnings, lost relationships, and self-resurrecting fears. Much can be gained, of course, by honoring lessons learned in the past, but to escape those ghost worlds of former selves -- even selves from only five minutes ago -- it's important to release the shackles of WHAT WAS.
Conversely, living in the future is like hanging a frame on your wall without a canvas. You anxiously live your life concerned about the canvas not painted, yet continue to decorate your walls with empty frames. Only in the present will your painting -- one brush stroke at a time -- reach completion.
A suggested exercise (if you're not averse to taking a walk) can be found on your local park bench. First, find your bench. Then, quiet your mind and just LISTEN.
Imagine every sound you hear as a musical instrument and listen to the uniqueness of each rhythmic phrase. Every sound you hear sings the symphony of the present: you can hear it in the plaintive whisper of the leaves, in the festive interludes of birds, or the playful prattle of children. And if you listen carefully, a world that has long escaped you will gradually reveal itself.
Although it may not be convenient, the enterprising among you could try this with all five of the senses. The goal, however, is to tune your awareness to whatever happens in the present moment. For example, how many instruments in this symphony, figuratively speaking, can you hear, see, touch, taste, and feel?
After you have the musical score of this grand work stretched out in front of you, imagine yourself actually playing the instruments that you sense: be the tree that bends in an ancient posture of servitude; be the crow that mocks with pundits from above; be the muddy pond that patiently waits below; be the silence that drifts over the park in sleepy shadows.
To live in the present you only need to sense the pulse of everything around you -- this is the rhythm of life. And when you live in the present, YOU are the conductor.
Channeled by David Gregg