The Art of Living in the Present Moment

· September 13, 2016

Living in the present seems obvious, and though it should be, it’s actually the exception. Why? Because truly being present is more than physically being in a certain place; it implies being connected with our essence, which is beautiful and undisturbed. Unfortunately, that inner peace is perturbed, sometimes violently, by our thoughts and emotions, which take us away from the present moment.

What you are not: your thoughts

Descartes, the famous French philosopher of the 17th century said: “I think, therefore I am.” This phrase defines the way modern human beings identify themselves: through their ideas and thoughts. However, nowadays there are other points of view that dare to disagree with such a respectable and erudite philosopher. Because although thoughts and ideas are powerful and important, they are still relative and fleeting. That is to say, if we define ourselves by what we think, we would be basing our identity on quicksand.


Thus, for example, what others and even ourselves think about us doesn’t define us. They are simply concepts that never manage to encompass our true essence. Besides, the endless tirade of thoughts of our inner dialogue produces noise that keeps us from hearing the beautiful melody of the present. It keeps us disconnected from the present moment.

What you’re also not: your emotions

Since the moment that Freud popped the lid off of the unconscious and started to interpret it, psychology has molded the way we perceive our mental and emotional life. But, as a science, psychology is based on a mechanistic and rational model, with an emphasis on pathology and illness. Therefore, if we have certain symptoms and behaviors we are labeled, medicated and even condemned to “suffer the burden” of our “mental illness” for life.

Although it’s undeniable that emotions are a part of our humanity, these are also fleeting and don’t constitute the deepest and most true part of our being. Emotions are temporary phenomenons just like storms and hurricanes. But they always pass, and the imperturbable sky reappears, because it was always actually there, regardless of how scandalous the meteorological (or psychological) phenomenon might have been.

Therefore, as Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, says, “Don’t take your emotions too seriously.” These only take over if we identify ourselves with them and let them control us. Don’t fool yourself, your presence goes beyond emotions, and it is imperturbable. From the heights of your presence you can observe the storm of your emotions pass; accept them, feel them, but without any unnecessary suffering. Be sure that your presence is an inexhaustible and permanent source of happiness and peace.

Other things you are not

The list of things you are not doesn’t end with thoughts and emotions. There are many more things that disconnect us with our presence, such as for example the way we identify ourselves with our skills (I’m smart or I’m dumb), possessions (I’m rich or I’m poor), achievements or titles (I’m a businessman, doctor or criminal).
All of these conditions come and go. They are relative. They are nothing more than concepts and labels that don’t constitute our presence. We have them today, but tomorrow…who knows? However, they haunt us, because they keep us away from the present moment, which is what allows us to connect with ourselves. So, we fret over what we did or didn’t do in the past, or we worry about what might end up happening in the future.

So, you only need to open the present you have at hand in this very moment. There you’ll find your presence, the best gift you can give yourself and others.