Monday 06 October 2014

In this morning's Morning Talk I spoke about the power of now.

Close your eyes, empty your mind and try and think about now. This moment. Not what’s going to happen next, or what you are about to do or tonight or next week. I want you to think about the immediate now.

Thank you. It’s difficult isn’t it? And the fact that it’s difficult is a shame.

Just recently I’ve been thinking about the past and the future. The school’s history and beginnings as we look forward to our centenary next year.

We’re told that thinking about the past is important. We’re told that studying History is important as it helps us to understand where we’ve come from, mistakes we’ve made and that it helps us to avoid making them again. Now whilst that particular point is up for debate I don’t argue against the teaching of History in Schools as being important, but I do question the need we sometimes have to keep the past too close to us. We seem to love the past.

So, on one hand we have the past to think about and perhaps worry us. We’re told, aren’t we, that it’s important to think of the future? You must work hard so that you can in the future get good results so that you can in the future go to university so that you can in the future get a good job so that you can in the future make lots of money so that you can in the future but lots of things so that….well, so that what exactly?

It seems to me that there’s little value in worrying about the future for it will come and take care of itself. Our children lead complex enough lives without us overlaying fears of what the ‘whatif’ Monster might do to them.

The Latin phrase carpe diem originated in the “Odes," a long series of poems composed by the Roman poet Horace in 65 B.C.E., in which he writes:

Scale back your long hopes
to a short period. While we
speak, time is envious and
is running away from us.
Seize the day, trusting
little in the future.

You see, if we spend too much time thinking about the past and the future there is a danger that we will forget about today. The past will always be there and the future will always spread before us but now and today will soon be gone.

The book – ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle looks at this idea that we should enjoy the now much more. It says –

Surrender to the present moment, where problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy, are able to embrace our true selves and discover that we are already complete and perfect. If we are able to be fully present and take each step in the Now we will be opening ourselves to the transforming experience of THE POWER OF NOW.

It’s an interesting idea isn’t it – the power of now. I would guess that many of us have things that are troubling us. But if we close our eyes and think of NOW then those things go. In this moment there is nothing that troubles me for those troubles belong either in the past or the future.

Groucho Marx said:

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”


New comment

  1. January 4, 2016 00:38

    by Sionaidh Craigen

    Hurrah! This is so true. Been thinking the same thoughts recently.
    Sort of akin to meditation... but that's emptying the mind in the Now.
    Whereas it is really good to think about and feel and appreciate all that we do have in the Now.. as you said.
    This also prevents the drip drip of cortisol in our bodies from stress, which wreaks havoc on our immune systems!

  2. January 4, 2016 00:31

    by Sionaidh Craigen

    Hurrah! So true.
    Living in the Now de-stresses the body and mind. Stops the drip drip of cortisol being released into the body creating havoc.
    Akin to meditation, although of course that is for emptying the mind in the Now.
    Whereas living in the Now enables us to take stock of all that we DO have and value in the Now.

  3. October 7, 2014 14:19

    by Roger Ellman

    St. Christopher school is one of the ultimate "Now" places to pass the educational priming phase. By not enforcing but allowing. By not enforcing must-do-by and must-do's in general, but by instead encouraging choose-to-do thinking. This much encourages living in, observing, experiencing, and yes wait for it learning "Now"!

    And by the way, you are the second esteemed person to bring up the Ekchart Tolle book ( a derivative, simple, yet largely correct work ) within my earshot or readerly spaces, in the last week. Now, you might say.