One of the most popular spiritual sayings is “be here now,” by Ram Dass. As simple as that quote is, it has been interpreted many ways, depending on what it means to you. For me, it means to be in the present moment, but for someone else, it could mean that “be here now” is being anywhere but here, and if that’s true for them, I’d have to ask, “Where are you?”
We could turn “be here now” into an endless adventure of the mind, but what I would like to talk about is the literal meaning of “now,” which is, “at the present time or moment,” and why it’s hard to stay there.
There is a tendency for the mind to want what is coming, or could come, which puts us in a state of anticipation or longing. Of course we want and desire things, but if the mind is always waiting for something else or something better, then how can we be satisfied with what is?
A good way to find out if we’re anywhere but “here” — the present moment of our lives, is to ask ourselves where we are, especially if we find ourselves thinking about other things more than what’s happening in that moment.
If you find that your mind wanders when you’re in the present moment, ask yourself these questions to find out why:
1. Am I unsatisfied?
2. Am I bored?
3. Am I unhappy?
4. Am I frustrated?
5. Am I lonely?
6. Am I burdened?
7. Am I sad?
8. Am I restless?
9. Am I anxious?
10. Am I disheartened?
If your answer is “yes” to any of those questions, ask yourself, “Where would I be happier than in this moment?” and if you feel in your heart that there’s somewhere better to be than the moment you’re in, then ask yourself, “Is this moment truly not good enough?”
By being in the present moment, we may find out that it genuinely isn’t where we want to be, and perhaps need to change a situation that we’re in. But if we find ourselves out of the present moments more than being present in them, it might not have anything to do with a particular situation, but that our expectations are interfering with the moments we’re in, and diminishing the quality of them, therefore making them constantly not good enough.
If that’s the case, ask yourself what’s better than being fully alive in the moment you’re in, and if you can come up with something you feel will transcend it, at least try and enjoy the present moment before you get to the moment you’d rather be in. You might find you want to stay exactly where you are.
**Originally published at HuffPost