Staying Present

IMG_5475When I pay attention to the thoughts that ramble aimlessly in my mind, I often find myself dwelling in either the future or in the past.  I must confess I’ve even caught myself thinking about something I need to add to the grocery list while snuggled in my spouse’s embrace.

One of the most destructive places I can dwell in my mind is in the past, nursing past hurts.  As I go over and over these painful memories, I am reinforcing the pain, and most likely building a wall of resentment, between me and whomever I am blaming for my pain — brick by brick, thought by thought.

The other place I can find my thoughts is worrying about things to come.  My mind loves to make up vivid images of frightening outcomes to a variety of situations.  Of course, I have no idea how things will actually work out; and, time and time again I’ve been shown that most of the things I fear never actually happen.  Then on the other hand, if I keep making images of horror, I could attract negative experiences into my life like a magnet. Could it be that my fears cause me to make poor choices, which in turn result in unhappy outcomes?  Thoughts are powerful things.

Even an inordinate amount of time spent dwelling on happy memories or happily anticipating future events robs me of truly experiencing the present moment.  Of course I need to make plans and a certain amount of happy anticipation is part of the experience of pleasant activities; however, too much time dwelling in the future robs me, and whoever is with me, of my full attention.

Staying present takes practice; however, when I do, I find myself to be more alive and more loving.

Today I will concentrate on staying fully engaged in the moment.  Here I can give and receive the gift of love.

Written January 27, 2011

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