We all talk about living in the present. Even our community also encourage living in the present. Such of these manifested ideas include mindfulness-based practices like mindful eating, quotes appearing on Tumblr posts, hashtags #liveinthepresent, and others. While these ideas are good, not many actually understand this. Some say, " We're living in the present! We're doing drugs, partying, clubbing!". While that can be said as living in the "present", it is however, not entirely living in the present. That is being swayed by states and events. Maybe you can call it turning in the present, because we are turned or swayed by external events and states. It is not honest. To help us understand what living in the present is, I decided to call it living HONESTLY in the present. We need to have compassion, kindness, equanimity, wisdom to live honestly in the present. The pure and simple mind, that is equanimity, is living honestly in the present.
In our life, we encounter so many things, events, incidents. Some of them are more salient than the others, while some are less noticeable. Those that we salient, are mostly events that mean a lot to us, whether in a positive or negative way. For example, you normally won't notice your mind or emotions when you walk to a train station unless you are either a meditator, or something poked you along the way. By being poked, I mean that you mind is distracted, or disturbed. Instead of walking, you are being carried by that event. It could be someone who spilled coffee onto your shirt, or it could also be a speeding car that almost run you over. Because of this event, your emotion changes. You get frustrated, you hate who or whatever did this to you. You might even curse at them.
That is not living honestly. Being honest does not mean that when you are angry, you curse or scold someone. Being honest means acknowledging that at that moment, you are feeling that emotion, and after that, the moment is gone. It is understanding why you are holding on to that specific event, and emotion. We have to understand that the past cannot be obtained, and the future cannot be obtained too. Most of the time, we live in either these too. Imagine that someone said something you dislike, and you become angry for a few hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. The person has no idea and forgot that he has said any of those words, while you held on to those words for years. That is living in the past. Those words are sounds which passes through the ears and into the brain. However, we take them as real and true, and hence get caught up in them. We are then living those moments all over again, in our minds. How is that living honestly in the present? It is the same for future events, that has not arise yet. Why should we worry and think about all the possibilities in our minds when we won't know what will happen?
We should try to live honestly in the present then, as it will benefit our mental health, emotional health, social health, and also physical health. How can we live honestly in the present then? Here are some which I think would be beneficial for us.
We should not argue with people. If we argue with people, people will definitely argue back with us. This goes on when one holds on to his ego and insists that he is right and the other party is wrong. Everyone will think that way. If we keep doing that, we will not enjoy peace in every second that we have with people. If we stop arguing with each other, there won't be conflicts anymore. People know that, but they choose not to believe and do it. Therefore, we have to be the first to do it.
We should not compare with others. When we compare, either we are better or they are better off. But do you know that when we compare, it is unhealthy for our minds? If we are worse than them, we would want better, and this could give rise to greed. That is only for materialistic possessions. We will be thinking a lot about why we are worse than others, or be arrogant about our standings. Jealousy and arrogance. We won't be able to do things with a pure mind when we have those two taking up all the space in our minds.
Remember, understand that all things will come to a pass. Things to not stay permanent. We have to understand it. Understanding does not come from repeating those words. Anyone could repeat those words. Imagine this:
Mother (to child): Do you understand?
Mother: What do you understand? Child: I understand ... (repeats what mom lectured him about)
Is that understanding? Even a parrot, when trained, could answer in the same way, but habits won't change that way. Understanding comes from practicing, realizing, and affirming. Understand that everything will come to a pass. If things stay permanent, wouldn't it be sad? Wars will not end, fires do not stop, unhealthy emotions do not disappear. When we are angry or devastated, understand that it comes to being and will go away one day. It is not every single moment that you are angry or devastated. Have patience that you will understand this, and that all things will come to a pass.
Smile and always be happy with every little thing. At the end, always smile at everything. Treat them as opportunities for you to practice the above three. Treat every event the same. Do not avoid negative events, while only living in the positive events. If we can be unmoving, be calm, composed, and treat everything with equanimity, we can smile at every sinlge event, while not being affected by it. We can be in the fire while not being burn by the fire (metaphorically).
To end, if we can learn to accomplish these four habits, then maybe we there is still hope for us to live our lives in a honest way.