How present are you?
Time travel seems to be the ‘in thing’ at the moment. Look at the number of movies/books out there – The Time Traveller’s Wife, About Time, Terminator, Dr Who, Looper – and I put my hand up and confess that I love this kind of thing.
In life, many of us are driven to either create a fabulous future for ourselves or to spend a lifetime in our quest to resolve the issues that affect and limit us. There is nothing wrong with either of these approaches but there is a weakness in them.
The weakness is that neither is about the present moment – both are about a different time zone. I definitely agree that it’s worthwhile to review the past and learn lessons from it; and that it’s equally valuable to visualize the future, as long as we do so with both feet planted firmly in a healthy present.
How much time do you spend in your life mulling over past events or looking forward to future pleasures? You might like to consider how much time you spend with your head in technology rather than present to your surroundings. I’d count Social Media as (old) news and therefore the past. I invite you to take a snap shot right now. If you were to pick a percentage for past, future and present, what number would you give to each? For example, I used to be past 20%, future 60% and present 20%. I reckon I’m now 10:30:60, still a work in progress.
The following questions are for your self-exploration. Given the perils of getting regularly caught up in ruminating or daydreaming and the benefits of inhabiting the present, your answers will prompt you to think about what tendencies you need to work on.
Travel to the past?
- How often do you go over past events in your mind?
- Are there specific scenarios in your past that still bother you today?
- How anxious do you feel about your worst mistakes?
- How angry do you get when you think about the worst things that people have said or done to you?
Travel to the future?
- How often do you look forward to future pleasures imagining what they will be like?
- How often do you mentally rehearse conversations or situations that are coming up?
- How many specific events in the future make you feel anxious when you think about them?
- How positive do you feel when you think about the most enjoyable experience the immediate future holds for you?
- How negative do you feel about the most unenjoyable experience that the immediate future holds for you?
Travel in the present?
- How observant are you as you walk or drive around your neighbourhood?
- How strong are your powers of concentration?
- How often does your mind wander when you listen to what others are saying?
- How often have you valued a walk in nature for the sights and sounds more than for the opportunity to talk with a friend or to think things through?
If this article and questions have helped you become aware of your attitude to the past, future and present, then it has served its purpose. You might like to look at your answers and think about how you could modify your approach, especially if you are finding that your attitude is affecting your mood and levels of happiness. You might simply like to begin the practice of noticing when your mind has drifted, without judging it, to increase your awareness of your relationship with time.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you are someone who would like to get better at enjoying the now, you might like to consider travelling to Queenstown for a Wellness Weekend with us. Visit our Retreats page for more information. Happy travels! Amanda x