I have spent a lot of my life mulling over the past and looking to the future, and only recently have I learned what it really means to live 'in the now.' There are a couple of parts to this, the first being a lack of regret. I don't dwell on my past decisions because I have learned to live in a way that allows me to trust my judgment and know that a) I made that decision carefully and deliberately and b) no matter how it turns out, I will likely have an opportunity to learn something. This leads me to part two: At breakfast this morning I was discussing the meaning behind the phrase "it is what it is." A pretty basic Zen concept, but what does that really mean? I think it often gets used as a brush off for a situation that we don't particularly feel like dealing with, "it is what it is, whatever," I hear people say. But it is so much more. It is our submission to the teacher that is our experience and a commitment to the path that we have chosen. In saying 'is what it is' - we are withholding qualitative judgment on our experience and accepting it as a part of our progression on down the road. We never really know what will come of it until we see how things play out - who knows if missing that red light caused us to get to the coffee shop a little later and bump into the love of our life as we were leaving? We would have missed that opportunity entirely had we made it through the intersection before the light changed, and yet we cursed the little old lady in front of us who stopped as the signal turned yellow. This brings me to part three: you never know what's in store, and it's so much more fun to wonder "hmmm, what is this about?" than to berate yourself for every perceived misstep or bump in the road. In this way we are not so much looking to the future as allowing it to unfold in front of us, every revelation a surprise. Be. Here. Now.
Be in this moment, experiencing everything that it has to offer, not looking to the next thing or thinking about the last. If you're in a pose, be in it, experience it and enjoy the release as you move to the next. Enjoy driving down the road with your windows down listening to the radio, not wondering where you're going to park at the restaurant. We don't learn anything from thinking two steps ahead, we are taught through the experience of each moment and eventually seeing how they link together - but if we aren't ever here, then we don't make ourselves available to the lessons.
As I've moved through my mala (granted, it's only day 9) - so many have asked me how many days I have left and only two, both yoga instructors incidentally, have asked "what day are you on?" where are you now?
I am in this day, content to be here, now.