In the modern world our minds put a huge emphasis on the past. We tend to focus on the past so much that it drastically holds us back and affects both our present and future lives.
Slogans like “make America great again”, take advantage of people’s fond memories of the past and terminology like “the good old days”, shifts their awareness out of the present.
It distracts from what is happening right now and gives us a warm fuzzy feeling. This is usually followed up by the realisation that our life isn’t like that right now or hasn’t been for quite some time.
We might wish that those good old days would return but often times dwell on the fact we aren’t having that enjoyment anymore and victimise ourselves. Instead of doing something about the current situation, we see ourselves as powerless, which can create a web of negative beliefs about the power we hold.
Instead of focusing on what’s in front of us right now and planning what needs to be done to change it, we spend time reminiscing on the past or using the past as an excuse as to why we can’t do what we really want to do.
We limit the human potential that can lead us to self-growth and mastery because of a lack of belief that our dream is possible. We accept that just because we haven’t ultimately got what we wanted in the past, the same will be true in the future.
Well I’m writing this to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way and you can take the power out of the past and apply it to the present which will help you change your future.
The Most Important Idea to Grasp
A foundational idea that you have to grasp if you want to live a fulfiling life is that the past and future are illusions and while we can learn from the past and set goals for the future, we have to keep in mind that the only thing that really exists is the present moment.
Whatever you did in the past took place in the present and whenever the future arrives it will become the present.
It is the only place anything really exists yet we spend so much time wastefully obsessing over both the past and future, forgetting that we’re actually in the present moment.
Where Should You Focus Your Attention?
The next time you catch yourself obsessing over what’s going to happen in the future or what you’re going to do wrong that you did last week, focus on what’s around you in the present moment.
Use your senses to keep you there. What can you see? Hear? Smell? Or even taste? Be grateful for the experiences you are having and appreciate the complexity of your functioning senses. Feeling the nerves in your feet or in any part of your body can help keep you grounded in the here and now.
Even if you have any irritation or pains in the body, allow yourself to feel them and let go of any ownership over them. Focusing your attention on the present moment can help you think clearer and more precise so that you can plan what you want your future to entail.
Building an Extraordinary Future
Are you ready to take action and discover your full potential? I hope so! Well a great habit you can implement into your life right now is a meditation practice. It helps you relax and use the body as a portal into stillness, which quiets the mind and distances you from it. Although the mind is a useful tool, it can also deceive and keep you stuck by reminding you of your past and stopping you from growing.
When you let go of identifying with the mind, you become free from it and can appreciate life fully. Then you can follow what you really love and feel passionate about. You could start a business, become a singer or just simply follow your intuition when it comes up and see where it takes you.
Following the mind usually keeps you in the same position because it comes up with reasons why you shouldn’t take the risk. Following your heart leads to fulfilment because it’s what you truly want and feel passionate towards. Your mind is trying to protect you from danger but you have to take risks if you want to feel alive. Every day you have two choices. Step into growth or step into safety.
How to Start a Meditation Practice
Decide how often you will meditate and for how long each session will last. I would suggest every day for 5 min to start off with and then move up to 10, 20 or more mins each session. Developing a habit is always easier doing little bits every day, opposed to doing 1 long session every week.
Keep it simple and start off by sitting on a chair, yoga mat or a bed with your back straight. It’s helpful to have something to rest your back on like a cusion against a wall. You then simply concentrate on your breath. That’s all you need to do. Yes, it’s as simple as that but don’t underestimate how effective this simplistic technique can be.
When you’ve done this technique for 5 days or so, evaluate what you are struggling with and experiment with other meditation techniques. Continue to re-evaluate your effectiveness and progress because you can easily slip into keeping things too routined which will limit your growth.
One extra bonus tip to sum things up is to not judge yourself if you miss a day. It doesn’t matter how many times you miss days, just get back to it whenever you realise you’ve slipped up. Nobody is perfect and perfection only exists in the mind. It’s an illusion. Nothing in this world is perfect. Striving for excellence is a much healthier way of looking at any discipline in your life.
Here is a useful video on a meditation technique to try.