Are you living in the present and taking life one day at a time?

“Take Life one day at a time.” This is probably the most common advice ever given and also perhaps the most seldom taken. Whether we are recovering from an accident, surgery or some other traumatic event, we have all thought about the need to take life one day at a time. But what does it really mean to take life one day at a time? How else could you live except one day, one hour, one minute and one second at a time? You might think that you have another choice, but you don’t. I cannot live tomorrow except in my mind. My only reality is the moment. Tomorrow will be lived one second at a time tomorrow. Today, I live each moment in the present.

Thus, the true meaning of this phase must be found in our desire and thoughts and not in our actuality. We live somewhere else in our minds. I fantasize about yesterday, tomorrow or some other time. I avoid the present by daydreaming or wishing I were someone or somewhere else. In my mind, the time is not today and I am not living now. I am worrying about the future or what I want to happen. I fritter my life away by allowing my mind to wander elsewhere and to deal with problems that have not yet happened.

The essence of meditation and spirituality is to live in the present. When we live in the present, our lives are more grounded and we are able to experience the reality we have now. When we allow ourselves to live elsewhere, we really do not live at all. We become so busy thinking about and worrying about some other time, that we are not able to experience the moment. Henry David Thoreau said: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” A key essence of all the great spiritual teachings is the importance of living in the present.

What stops you from living in the present? Do you worry about the future and fret about the past? What can you do to learn to live more in the present? What is one thing that would help you towards this goal today? How would your life be different if you could live more in the present each day?

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