Musings: Happiness in the Present


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I’ve been reflecting a lot on what makes people constantly anxious, fearful and fundamentally unhappy. Of course we can pinpoint specific problems in our lives, crises, frustration at not achieving our goals and so on. But quite simply, I’ve found that every single time I’ve allowed myself to be preoccupied for too long by events or things other than that which is happening in the present, I stop being blissfully happy.

 One of my favourite thinkers, Osho, writes extensively about this and I’ve found great truth and wisdom in this simple adage — Joy is found only in the present.

If you think back for a moment on all the times you’ve been unhappy, does it not somehow stem from living in the past or worrying about the future? if your mind and heart are in the past, you’re either brooding about an event that has upset you, or longing for an experience that was wonderful but that is no longer accessible to you in the present. Conversely, when dwelling in the future, one is prone to either looking forward or wishing for something that is not yet available to you or worrying about a potentially stressful or foreboding event. Neither allows you to enjoy and completely embrace the beauty of the present moment.

It is thus impossible to be happy unless one is completely present and immersed in the here and now. There is beauty even in the most challenging of present circumstances. And being present in a difficult situation allows you to harness all your capabilities and faculties to tackle the challenge. And in the case where we are in the presence of loved ones, exploring a new place, enjoying a cup of coffee or a good conversation, we can be absolutely sure we will never miss a beat in treasuring those wonderful, fleeting moments.

It’s still a struggle sometimes to catch myself worrying about deadlines, plans and goals or dwelling on an unpleasant encounter. But when I do, I gently remind myself that nothing is more important than what is happening right now. It is the only thing we can change and the only thing that can bring us and those around us pure, unadulterated joy.
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5 thoughts on “Musings: Happiness in the Present

  1. Angela – enjoyed your very thoughtful post. We should connect. I would love to share why I am developing Storeybord and would like to hear more about your journey and share it within our community.

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  2. Pingback: Musings: Happiness in the Present | !nk+Engineer

  3. Indeed, life is such a juggling act to balance past, present and future, while reconciling happiness. A central focus of Tai Chi is to be in the present. When two Tai Chi masters spar, the winner is inevitably the one most in the present. This is why Tai Chi is a defensive martial art. If you are considering an offensive move, you’re in the future and no longer in the present. But life is much more complex than that, as humans the closest we lived in the moment was as an infant, but even then, we were always wondering where our next meal would come from. Memory contains joy and pain. Anticipation can be sweet and fearful. The present can be joy and hell. Much of it all depends on perspective. The present offers the focal point and the fulcrum on which life is balanced and you leverage your happiness.

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