Regardless of all the talk about being in the moment and fully living that way, it’s essential to understand that this does not give us permission to live with no planning whatsoever. One can and should plan for the future, seeing as we all have free will in this world as well as the power to profoundly influence our own lives, and also those of many others. We simply can’t allow such a power to go to waste. This power, free will, is a right which comes with great responsibility, as we live in a world where cause and effect are basic principles of how things play out, and to ignore this truth is detrimental to life. We have been gifted with a wonderful mind which we can use to our advantage as long as we keep it under control of our higher nature. It sounds like a great idea, but we often find that in our modern society it is extremely difficult to put into practice, our minds seem to have a will of their own, which slowly becomes ours as we identify more and more with it. We are always being bombarded with certain ideas, most of them quite destructive to our mental sanity, negatively affecting our mental functions. It is right to have faith, to trust God or the universe in all circumstances, but this does not mean that we cannot create our circumstances. In fact, there is no one else who can do this for us, we must take control and do what needs to be done to create the life we wish to live. A problem often arises however, that what we believe to be the right actions in the now lead us very far away from the lives we thought we wanted. Sometimes the opposite might happen, we may indeed get whatever we wanted, only to find out that it isn’t right for us, it isn’t what we need. This can be the realization of a heavy drug addict coming face to face with their terrible affliction and its need to end, or of someone who has realized that any specific habit just isn’t serving them any longer, and that it needs to stop in order for him or her to move forward in life, on to better days. Just because the habit itself isn’t right for us though, and we realize that now, in a higher level it was right for us at the moment when we indulged in it. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t quit it, of course. What it does mean is that, no matter how much pain we may have caused for ourselves and others, there’s no going back, only the facts of the matter are left now, in memories of the past. In the present though, we have a different mentality, a more mature one, so we can choose to learn from the disaster we created, and the lesson we learn if we are honest with ourselves could just be the exact one which is needed to free us from further problems in our lives, since various problems in a person’s life often stem from the same source, from the same pain or anger or fear. This acceptance of our life, of our own responsibility for our life, is truly living in the moment, accepting it, and thereby accepting the past that brought us to such a present. Knowing we are fully responsible for every area of our lives makes us feel accountable for our destiny, and it makes it easier for us to make the right decisions. Living in the moment and letting go of all worry seem like wonderful ways to finally live freely, unburdened by stress and confusion. However, we all must do something in this life. We cannot simply watch the time go by as we do nothing at all, wasting the days away. We must reflect, and we must understand ourselves. In truly understanding ourselves we are getting to know God, as God is manifested in and through us. We can recognize the struggle between good and evil within us, between our higher and lower nature, between the will of God, and our own selfish will. Reflection is essential for a life lived correctly. So what about meditation? Meditation is considered the perfect example of simply being in the now, being comfortable with the present moment. Thoughts and emotions disappear as we drift into a pure state, beyond thought, time and space. One could ask if this is not the exact opposite of reflection? In a way, the answer is yes. This is not a loss to us though, since there is wisdom beyond thoughts and emotions, true wisdom which is not learned with words. This is the wisdom of peace, of reconnecting with our true essence. The meditative experience is a great tool which I’ve used for a few years now to develop more mindfulness, but even meditation is temporary, just as everything else in life is. A person who cannot appreciate every moment of life as it is will soon find that their life has passed them by, as they have always wished to live the next moment, the next best thing. Meditation is merely a doorway to a state of mind which is infinite, but it is still only a doorway. What is happening during true meditation is that we are becoming comfortable with who we are in essence, we are putting away all the baggage we carry on a daily basis, all the thoughts and emotions and opinions which we consider to be ourselves. This is what leads to blissful or even mystical experiences during meditation, but ultimately this wisdom needs to be applied to every second of our lives. In other words, our whole life must become a meditation in motion. We must find the inaction within action, and we must be at peace even as we navigate through the turbulent waters of life in this world. How can we be at peace in this way, at every moment of our lives? First of all, we need to come to an understanding that, although we are involved in life, and although it feels like we are our personalities, there is a deeper dimension to us, a Spirit without which life would not flow through our bodies. This spirit is our consciousness, the aforementioned higher nature which is in all of us, which we need to make our lower nature subservient to. Once we know that life is filled with meaning, and that destiny and free will are really two interrelated and interacting forces, we understand that our mind is simply the instrument with which the real Self, the Spirit, can live in this world of limited perceptions. We now feel as if every action of ours is of great significance, and the same goes for all other human beings. The difference is that now we are aware of this, and since we are now aware, we need to practice maintaining this awareness. It is easy to understand this intellectually, but as soon as we feel a strong emotion, all of our understanding goes out the door and we succumb to our lower nature in a flash, we let ourselves be used by our mental patterns, and we often end up acting in ways which we later terribly regret. Regret comes from making decisions which are not in alignment with our higher nature. It is useless to feel regret though, as it is only a cause for negative emotion and pointless suffering. What is needed is that we analyze, in the now, our past decisions and decide to do what’s right right now. We cannot fall victim to our emotions and allow them to drag us through the mud. We must be stronger than regret, we must be rooted in the spirit, in order to make better decisions in the present, or in the future. We need to feel, to really feel and witness, the connection between God and the Spirit within us to the point where we will no longer be able to live ignorant lives, because the knowledge of what’s right will punish us, it will not leave our conscience. At such a point, one can really begin to live in the moment, surrendering all to God. The problem is that too many people attempt to live in this way, to live “in the moment”, without ever growing in any other way, either mentally or spiritually, and usually without understanding even the basics of any of these concepts. The result is that people think “I only get one life, and I might as well live it to the fullest. I’m going to have as much fun as possible and live with no regrets, without listening to the opinions of others, I’m just going to do my own thing from now on, and whatever happens happens!” Since the people who have such ideas are usually not aware of their higher nature, and since they have not developed the least bit of self-control, they usually engage in destructive and reckless behavior, which leads to much suffering later on. They believe they are living in the moment, by simply acting without giving any thought at all to anything they do, each allowing himself to be used by his mind, much of which is hidden even to himsf, in the subconscious. Maybe such people are simply meant to learn to live life the hard way, but in the end, when the suffering comes, they will probably choose to dwell on their past mistakes, and on the negative emotions of regret or disillusionment which will accompany them, as well as many other negative emotions they might face due to the results of all their reckless decisions over the years. What we all need to do is to understand, to let go of emotion and blame, or regret and hate, or disappointment with life, and to understand that life is unpredictable but it is ultimately under our control if we can connect with the source of it. Living in the now doesn’t mean doing things without thinking or planning, it means being mindful of our thoughts and emotions, yet knowing a deeper reality within us at all times, all-knowing and without the ability to lie to itself, and following the wisdom it conveys to us, without exception, since the more we ignore this wisdom the further we stray from it, and the more we become entangled with the confused thoughts of our own minds, which have become so corrupted by society, and ultimately by ourselves, since we have allowed this to happen.
To be continued tomorrow, on Day 29.
~ Rebel Spirit