Tag Archives: the power of now

Forget “What if?” & “What was.”– Acknowledge “What is!”

what if_what was_what is

For some reason the lesson of dropping “What if?” came in my mind this morning. I knew I had written a blog post about it in the past, but I couldn’t remember what I wrote. This morning I found it through my blog’s search engine, and re-read it. It’s from the time when I lived in an old building in New York. (I no longer live in NYC, the post was written in 2011.) I’m glad those days are over! But the lesson I learned, or maybe I should say “insight I had”, is still one that I need to work on. It was good to be reminded.

Ugh, where do I begin. Let me start off first by saying that it is 12:15am, and I am very tired. I’m afraid that if I write something right now, it will sound like a sleepy person babbling — and the blog post will be pockmarked with typos. But I’ll do my best!

Last night I was in dance class. I barely made it through the class because I got two huge blood blisters. One on each big toe the size of a silver dollar (that’s exaggerating… more like a quarter). Then, that same night, in the middle of the night, I hear a BOOM! The sound woke me out of my sleep. I thought a shelving unit fell off of a wall. I checked everywhere I could think of, but everything seemed okay. Then I heard another crashing sound, but this time it sounded smaller in size. It had to be in the bedroom near the front door, the room I had not yet checked. When I opened the door I saw that a big section of the ceiling crashed to the floor! Dust and sheetrock pieces everywhere! After that, I tried my best to go to bed (because it was almost 3am), and not think about it. I knew I had to call my landlord in the morning, and there was nothing tha could be done in the middle of the night. But my reasoning with myself didn’t work, I couldn’t sleep. Then, later that day, while on the phone with the landlord, I’m told that the supervisor of the building is coming right over to check it out. To make a long story short, the supervisor (after looking at it) said that he didn’t believe that the ceiling just fell like that. Someone made it happen, someone made it come down. He basically hinted that the whole ceiling in that room would need to be replaced, and he wasn’t sure the landlord would cover the expense. Two hours after that, I had to leave for a therapy appointment for my spine. Walking gingerly because I can feel the blisters under my toes, I notice a sign at the subway entrance. The subway train I need is not running – at all. (*sigh*) At this point I am really feeling in the dumps. But then something clicks. I have a little conversation with myself.

Big Self: Aimee, you keep thinking about the ceiling falling. When did it fall?
Lil’ self: Late last night.
Big Self: So that would be in the past, right?
Lil’ self: Yes.
Big Self: And if it happened it the past, it means it’s not happening right now, right?
Lil’ self: Right.
Big Self: And the other thing you are worried about, is having to pay for that ceiling. This would be something that could possibly happen in the future. The future doesn’t exist right now. So that means you are angry or upset about something that doesn’t exist.
Lil’ self: (*sigh*) Ya.
Big Self: So if you get your head out of the past, and out of the future, what is happening right now, in the present?
Lil’ self: I’m finally getting on a train that can take me to my appointment to see one of the best massage therapists in the world. (In my world that is!)
Big Self: So let’s look at this a little differently. Instead of focusing on “what if?” or “what was,” we are going to look at “what is.” You took one of your favorite dance classes and got to hang out with your friends last night. You got a few blisters, but now you are fine, they are healing nicely. Part of your ceiling fell in your apartment. The building you live in is 140 years old, so this kind of thing happens, old buildings break down. Good thing the supervisor came immediately over, and he is fixing it for you. And thank goodness no one was in the room when it fell, they could have been hurt. So this is very fortunate! Now you are on your way to getting a super-duper massage, and therapy for your spine. Soon you will feel amazing, and you finally found a subway that can take you there (after walking to a different train station). Lucky you!

After this little conversation with myself everything become light. The day was great. I had much to be thankful for. And all was suddenly well. It only took a bit of gratitude & awareness to change everything in seconds.

Now if I can only get some much needed sleep and catch-up on a few Zzzzzz… Tonight I am going to sleep through the night!

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Filed under self inquiry, what is

No Past, No Future, No Problem

“When you say to someone ‘you’re history’ it doesn’t mean that you’re a part of it; it means that you’re obliterated. That’s what history means.”
— Unknown

I think my Change the Meaning of the Past post (on January 8th, 2012) was too brief & too fast. I got a few comments from readers that it was hard to catch all that Alan Watts was saying & they also wanted more to read. Well, I can’t slow Alan down & I can’t transcribe the whole video, but I can write a bit more about the topic & post an additional video for you.

The Alan Watts video that I embedded in this post gives a bit more detail & has good pacing. It’s quite relaxed & fun to watch (especially Alan’s printed pants).

To me, the bottom line of what Alan Watts is saying is: THE PAST IS THE RESULT OF THE PRESENT. I could probably talk about that sentence for an hour. Actually, I know I easily could. But for now, I want to take it in another direction. (Because you can watch the entire 6 part video on Alan’s view that I embedded above, & get almost an hour of talk about that sentence from him.)

I want to share a different take on: being, living in the present, & staying out of past/future based thinking.

To me, suffering is only possible if your mind is in the past or future. If you are truly in the present, suffering is not possible.

But someone might say: I am in extreme physical pain from an illness (or physical injury). I am completely present. This pain is happening right now, & I am suffering!

My question for you would be: but are you comparing how you feel right now to a time when you were not in pain? Are you comparing how you feel or how you look, to the past? Are you comparing the predicament you are in right now to a time when you were not in it? Are you adding to this moment thoughts about the future? Thoughts based on fear? Like: what if I never get better? What if this gets worse? What if I am never the same? Why is this happening? What if I die? What if this takes a long time? What if I lose what I have over this? What if I never feel good again? — Also, let me ask you: what is your point of reference for pain & pleasure? Is it not based on the past? So in my opinion, it’s not the pain (illness, injury, or situation) that is making you suffer — it’s you. It’s your thoughts. Thoughts overrun by past & future based thinking.

Try it out for yourself today. Or better yet, try it out for yourself this week. Set aside a piece of paper. Every time you get stressed, or feel uneasy, or feel that unwanted emotions are arising — make a note of it. I want you to write down what what you are feeling & thinking. Go into detail. After that, I want you to write down what is happening in the present. Write down where you are & what is TRULY happening in the present moment. Not what you are thinking is happening, but what is really happening. Just note the facts. Don’t paint a picture of them. Just write down the basic facts without adding meaning to them. At the end of the day, or end of the week. Go back & see if those detailed thoughts & feelings about the situation matched the basic facts of the present moment. And if any of the fears that were noted in the detailed thoughts were as scary, as uncomfortable, or as painful as you thought they would be.

Alan Watts has a quote that ties in nicely to what I was just sharing with you:
[Being free from the past] simply involves a change in your thinking. It involves in other words; your getting rid of the habit of thought whereby you define yourself as the result of what has gone before — and instead, get into the more plausible, and more reasonable habit of thought. In terms of which; you don’t define yourself in terms of what you’ve done before, but in terms of what you’re doing now. And that is liberation from the ridiculous situation of being a dog wagged by its tail.

Just remember: no past, no future, no problem! :) Stay present. See what is happening now as a gift.

[To watch the entire “Time and The More It Changes” video (in 6 parts) from Alan Watts, click here.]

[Photo of the “No Past, No Future” tattoo is from the F*ck Yeah, Tattoos! blog.]

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Filed under awareness, great quotes, tv & video, unlearning