Why is it Beneficial and Advisable to Live in the Present?
Suppose you lost 600 rupees four days ago and remember that today, it means you are dwelling in the past. Or say, you faced some problem on your way and you begin to think, ‘if I face that problem again, I will deal with it in this manner now.’ To think about the future while sitting here in the present means you are dwelling in the future. All Gnani, the Enlightened Ones, say one thing – Remain in the present.
Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, an enlightened being says, “The next second, a moment later is considered the future and, whatever happened a second before is considered the past. But we should remain in the present. The one who remains in the present does not need to be aware of anything else. Yes, that indeed is considered the highest applied awakened awareness of the Soul (the Self).”
What are the consequences of not living in the present?
- One Suffers in Life by Dwelling in Past or Future
While you are eating food, enjoy your food. Or else your meals become haphazard. Complete all the work that needs to be done in one division first, where you are. When you go into a division to eat, you must enjoy your food there and leave your worries of the other division outside. Next, when you go to the bedroom, leave the worries of the kitchen or the office to be dealt with when in that department.
Man suffers because he does not organize this way; he does not compartmentalize his daily life. While having a meal, he worries about what he will do when his supervisor gets upset with him. Deal with it when he does so. For now, just enjoy your meal. God has said, “Enjoy what is present in front of you. Do not worry about that which is not present. Live in the present.”
- Worrying About the Future Ruins the Present
Instead of worrying about future, it is better if you attend to the present and do your best in the present situation. Your worrying about the future is not helpful in any way; it is detrimental as the future is not at all under our control. The efforts that you put in thinking about the future could all go to waste. It will only lead to worries and anxiety, which is certainly not helpful. This is not a scientific way at all.
Your greatest solution is to stop looking at the far away mountains and prevent stumbling now! When we go out, how far do we look ahead and walk, about 100 – 200 feet? Why don’t we look so far? Because if we try to look far away, we could miss the danger that is in close vicinity and hence stumble. An accident could occur. Therefore, we only look at short distances and keep moving further. That is considered as having attained a safe side. Everyday secure the safe-side for today.
Gnani says, “Stay within normality. See the safe side for today. Eg. instead of worrying about children’s future, improve their present by raising them with good moral values. You are responsible for that. But there’s no need to worry. You just be a guardian or a trustee of your sons and daughters and look after their present. This is Science. By worrying, one is cheating God! Lord Krishna has said, ‘Mortal one, why are you lamenting? Krishna will do what’s supposed to be done!’
- Remembering the Past Leads to Prejudice; Prejudice Ruins our Worldly Life Interactions
Suppose you feel someone has deceived you. It’s harmful to keep reminding yourself about such a past. You simply have to see what that person is doing at present; otherwise it is called prejudice. Yes, it becomes a prejudice when you keep the past active in your attentive awareness. Prejudice ruins our worldly life interaction with that person again. Instead, let’s put our efforts in the direction of how we can become free from all kinds of hatred within and foster harmony in our relations.
One behaved towards us the way he did due to the unfolding of our own karma (past deeds). His conduct towards us will become positive when our unfolding karma happens to be good. Therefore, we do not want to keep prejudices. How do you know if the person who cheated you earlier, has come today to bring you some profit? So whenever such circumstances arise, where we have to interact with that person again, we will not hold any prejudice against him / her.
- Opinions based on Past Loom High over the Present, and Create Bondage for Future
Based on the past, we harness opinions. This is wrong and it is harmful. If we live with a clean inner intent i.e. forming no biased opinions, we will not bind a single karma. Wouldn’t that be great?! And do you know we form opinions based on our own faults, our own mistakes and our own opinions? So rather than forming opinions, if we practice repentance for our own mistakes done, the effect of the hurt will disappear.
Everything from birth to death is in the hands of Nature; it is destined and is the result of our own past karma. But we cannot see things as is because of our coloured opinions. We cannot experience bliss of freedom due to the dense veils of opinions within. When the causes, that we ourselves created in our past life, are unfolding as effects in this life, then by giving opinions, ‘he is good, she is bad, this is good, that is bad’ we create only new causes and hence new bondages.
- In Tension of Past and Future, We Lose the Profit of Present
Suppose you cannot get into the train and hence miss a major appointment, that is now a thing of the past. Past is gone, so it is of no use remembering it again and again. Or else, you shall lose the profit of even the present. That adds to your loss. Moreover, ‘what will happen now?’ is the thing of future, which is in the control of Nature, and hence there is no meaning in worrying about it either. Thus, we are required to live constantly in the present and remain tension free. Tension is for the one who gets lost in the past, and for the one who delves in future. One who lives in the present has no tension. Besides, it is according to the law (of Nature). Therefore, the Lord has asked us to remain in the present. Lord says, the One who remains in present continuously is a Gnani. Gnanis remain in the present and also teach us to remain in the present.
To dwell in either past or in future is the nature of mind. The mind will keep showing us thoughts of the past and future. Thoughts come because we’ve called them. But now, we are required to live in the present. So, we shall have the awareness that, ‘Hey, this thought is trying to drag me in the past or future.’ Next, at that very moment, we’ll say to the thought, ‘Not now. I have kept one hour, come at that time, we will settle then, not right now. Whatever it is, I shall deal with it at the appropriate time!’
We are required to live in the present, always! Therefore, we shall look forward to attaining Self-Realization from the Living Gnani at an early date, because this alone can make ‘living in the present’ actually possible, easily and correctly!!!