Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be greener pastures. It’s crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of the future.

Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful.

Mel Brooks


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A wonderful–and apparently unique–skill we humans have is the ability to weave the recalled events of the past and the imagined events of the future into a meaningful story. Tragically, we are often the victims of this skill though we could be its master. Most of us spend more time in this story of memory and speculation than we do in our present experience. We overlook “now” as we endlessly evade the present by engaging in regret, worry, or hope.

I saw a small example of this recently in my CEO executive coaching group. One member mentioned that a friend was planning to return to school for an advanced degree in ancient Greek. The other executives, being practical and results-oriented, immediately asked, “What for?” The answer was, “For its own sake. For the beauty and challenge of it.”

So much of what we do is some form of, “Not for itself, but for what might come after it.” And after this, is another that: a continually receding horizon of expectation that destroys any chance of satisfaction. Always frantically pedaling but never arriving, exhausting ourselves on an intricately disguised hamster wheel.

Take some time, occasionally, to be in the present moment, now, for the sake of itself. Look in the eyes of a loved one, not for the sake of improving your relationship, but to be for a moment connected, appreciative, and complete. Study a blossom, feel your breathing, smell your lunch. Nowhere to go, nothing to improve, nothing missing. Just being with the present experience, for its own sake.

Each moment is an opportunity to be grateful, available to us for no reason and without obligation.

That may be why we call it the present.



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