“I ran out of time.”
“Where did the time go?” “If only I had more time.” Words we've all said. But what if physicist Julian Barbour is right? Barbour thinks there is no such thing as time, that time is an illusion, and all we have are “nows.”
Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle titled a book “The Power of Now,” and many people say it has profoundly affected their lives.
After finishing Tolle's book, one reader said he is now able to stay aware of the opportunities that come to him even through his uncomfortable moments. Those uncomfortable moments are the ones we typically try to distance from by abusing work, food, sex, drugs or whatever we can find to take us away for a time from painful reality.
None of those things are wrong when used appropriately, but if that reader is correct and we misuse them to create distance, we also will be missing rich opportunities to grow and change and make our lives better.
Have you ever sat across from someone and suddenly realized that for a few seconds you didn't hear anything he or she said? Where were you? Your body was present but your mind was someplace else and the moment was missed and gone forever.
So what does it mean to be fully in the “now” — to be present both to the painful and the good? It means intentionally bringing all the senses to the present moment — seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching.
If we would practice bringing our full attention to the one we are with, to the performance we are watching, the warm shower that washes over us or the beauty of a flower studied at close range, we might experience a sense of the sacred. As author and physician Rachel Naomi Remen says, “Any place where you are seen and heard is a holy place.”
To whom and to what do you give your full attention? Being in the “now” is worth your consideration. You may be surprised at how difficult it can be at first, but if you practice, it becomes easier and you may find your life and your relationships enriched.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.