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.