On not living in the present

This the second of today’s installments from William Sieghart’s book The Poetry Pharmacy.  This one really tickles my fancy.

… the po faced seriousness of our modern obsession with health and emotional balance is not the only way to live.  We can be happy without making an effort to live in the moment, or be mindful, or do any of those things we all feel a buzz of guilt about ignoring.

Of course we could all benefit from living in the moment more than we do – but it is also true that to treat the present as anything more than a second home, however frequently visited, would be a catastrophe.  As with anything else in the world, living in the moment is only useful in moderation.  What’s more, allowing ourselves to get caught up in the cultural panic about how we should live, how we should think, and how we should breathe, can lead to more misery than well practised mindfulness could ever solve.

If living in the moment doesn’t suit you, it if doesn’t make sense for you, don’t to it!  Don’t feel obliged to change your interior life to suit the faddish dictates of the  self help industry.  Although here is real value in living in the moment, there is also real value in living how you want to live, and accepting the parts of yourself you can’t change.  If you’re a fretter, or a daydreamer, or a reminiscer – celebrate it.  Be yourself.  That’s the best advice any guru can give you.

The trouble with present is

that it’s always in a state of vanishing.

Billy Collins

2 thoughts on “On not living in the present

    1. Me too its one of the first times I have heard someone express this kind of view. And it makes sense. All that Eckhardt Tolle teaching about living in the present at times did my head in. It seems to ignore the real reality of past pain and disordered attachments.

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