One of the most difficult things in life is grounding ourselves in the present moment, and not dwelling on past and future events. How often do we worry about things we’ve said or not said…hurts we’ve inflicted, or imagined hurts for which we’re responsible…actions we’ve taken, paths not traveled?
* What will happen in my meeting tomorrow?
* How is my friend going to respond to me?
* What will my partner do now?
I used to work with an amazing therapist and mentor, who described this mental overload as a form of “hallucination.” “There you go again, Sharon; you’re hallucinating by placing your thoughts into someone else’s mind.” This is also called “projection”—and I think most of us do it to some extent or other. But I grew to prefer the term, “hallucination,” because it’s as if my mind’s churning and cycling around someone else’s imagined conflict, is actually real. When we engage in this type of obsessing, we emotionally beat ourselves up for the pain and conflict we think we may have created.
And how does this affect my present moment? And consequently, the future one? First, I fall into a funk, and then expect something horrible to happen–and if it does happen, I think, well, I’m not surprised. And if it doesn’t, I end up confused and awash in such a mix-up of feelings that I cannot be present and feel pretty stuck. Argh!
Holding on to a jewel-like mantra may help us focus:
I resonate most with the words of Thich Nhat Hanh—Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and writings on mindfulness and peace. Described by Dr. Martin Luther King as an “apostle of peace and nonviolence,” his key teaching is that it’s only through living mindfully–living in the present moment–that one can truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world. (Check out this link for his writings: www.amazon.com/Thich-Nhat-Hanh/e/B000AP5YRY )
These quotes may all sound beautiful, but if you are in a present moment of feeling stuck, lovely teachings can sound impossible to reach, touch or understand. They may even sound trite and superficial. However, they do offer us a bit of hope which we can try to remember, and perhaps hold on to in a lighter moment.
I am a social worker and educator; as both, I have always been interested in self-development and spiritual growth. I have worked as a religious school educator for over thirty years, and hope this blog will prove helpful to readers, and myself.