Oct 02

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A Life in the Present

A Present Moment in Maui Sunset

A Life in the Present

How many people do you know that stew in hate, fear, resentment, or envy over something that happened yesterday, or maybe last week, last year, or years ago. They remember a bad situation over and over again. Letting it affect them negatively, repeatedly, all the time. They can’t let it go. They taint the present with memories of the past. Everything they perceive, every thought they have, is corrupted by their attachment to the past. It burdens the now and demands that the future cycle back to remember the injustices of the past. And so, the cycle begins again.

The past is no more. Let it go.

We the people of the world, in our majority, are burdened daily by the past because our minds congregate there and project the shadows of the past on the present; tarnish the truth of the now; and the negatively affect the vastly positive potential of the future.

There is only one time.

That TIME is NOW.

In fact, NOW is the closest thing to timelessness this material realm has to offer.

In his audio book for The Secrets to Manifesting Your Destiny, Dr. Wayne Dyer speaks of a story he came across. This story is about an author/singer/songwriter Portia Nelson who, when in a seminar, was asked to write her autobiography in 5 short paragraphs, a limit of one page. It is a brilliant illustration of the shadows of the past cycles that haunt so many and the lessons that must be learned from the cycle. She writes her biography within those parameters. It goes like this:

Chapter One – I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I’m helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two – I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three – I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It’s a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four – I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five – I walk down another street.

This was the summary of the story of her life. It is a brilliant use of metaphor. It paints a cycle of repeated patterns and the realization that a learned lesson comes by way of taking personal responsibility for your life. It is awaking to your particular situation.

You will not be able to look at the truth of what is now until you release and forgive all that you have experienced in the past – bad experience and good experience.

How many people do you know that pine for the loving relationship that they used to have? If I could only get back to that again, they say. If only, if only…When you pine for an experience of the past you once again fail to see the potential of the present. You may not be aware of the potential relationship that is right in front of you…or around the corner. You fall into a cycle of pining.

Let it all go. There is no past.

But how can I say this? Doesn’t your past define you? Right? Isn’t that the case?

Well, yes and no. Your past is the culmination of your ego-mind in the present. If you hang onto mistakes, errors, “sins” and guilt from the past then you essentially cast a shadow over the potential of your “Now” self. To top it all off, you will never see a person, place or situation as it actually is now. When your mind resides in the past all perception will be tainted. Situations and experiences are tainted. Opportunities may be missed or misconstrued. You may not see the truth of anything because your fear and hate reside in a place that no longer exists. When you refuse to let go of the past you willingly handicap yourself.

The positives of the past must be focused upon, the rest forgotten. This is learning. Remember, that every opportunity and experience, good or bad, has a take away that allows you to move forward in life and improve your Now. This is telling yourself that you have evolved to a higher state of you. When you learn from and release the past you are unencumbered in the present. You will literally feel lighter. Your thoughts are clearer. Your mind is less fatigued.

How do you let it go? Forgive and forget. Literally, you must forgive. Once you forgive you will forget. That is, the reminder of your mistake, or the perceived injustice towards you, is your issue. You are either forgiving yourself or another. Forgive it all. Let it go. Move on.

I prefer to think of forgiveness the way a great book called A Course in Miracles defines it. The course is exceptionally in-depth and the concept of forgiveness in its interpretation is vast and too intricate to enter in here. But basically, it is this: “to forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten.”

Each day we must do our best. There are belief systems that will back this up with practical tools to assist us in our perception and help us do our best. One of them, the most practical I can think of while you are training your mind to approach life this way, is The Four Agreements. This could be step one in any plan of release. There are many more ways to assist you. All are tools, some advanced, some basic, that help you release the past but The Four Agreements everyone can understand.

When you commit to these agreements it sets up the predisposition for better situations within the moment. The agreements lessen the tendency to feel guilty. It is the strong attraction of guilt that leaves us stranded to the past, attached by the invisible fibers that make us drag that weight of the past with us every day. When we are convinced that we’ve made the best choices on a moment to moment basis then the tendency to be guilty is reduced.

I’ve written out The Four Agreements before. Here they are.


These agreements with yourself establish the preconditions to living in the Now. I go into more detail on them in my blog post, The Amazing Power of Words . The background is worth researching. They set you up for the guilt-free circumstances that prevent ties to the past. You can then finish each day at peace, which keeps you centered. You are letting the day go, because it is done.

The great orator and modern-day sage Neville Goddard (if you’ve never heard of Neville I suggest you do some research, because he’s inspiring) suggested for good results take a moment when you are preparing for sleep to review your day in your mind. There’s a catch. While you review the day in your mind picture it as if each moment had provided the most desirable, best conceivable end result. Neville maintained, as I maintain, that this trains your imagination and gives you a joyful relaxed mood. Above all, it trains your mind and imagination to hold the image of what you truly want. Which is ultimately peace.

We innately want peace and love though many of us are confused as to how we accomplish this. That is for another article. However, it all starts here.

The Now is the closest thing to Eternity we have in our material reality. As long as our reality is how we perceive it there will always be a Now. Now is the moment when we have power. Start with letting go of the past. Use The Four Agreements as a tool to help you. Use forgiveness as the means to help you. You have the power.

Last but not least, I will answer one lingering question that you and I have. I know when I think about this topic I wonder, how do I recognize the Now? Sounds like a weird question. But really, your ego most likely dominates your thinking and it is simply not interested in the now. It is preoccupied with the resentments of the past and anxious about the events of the future. You are out of practice recognizing the Now.

Try this. To be in the moment, sit quietly, don’t concern yourself with boredom or being stimulated. Ensure there are no distractions, all is quiet and you’re in a safe place. Close your eyes. Now, breathe. Just breathe. Listen to your breath. This is about as close as you can come to a moment to moment existence. It is happening now. He’s the catch, while you are there it is really beneficial to imagine being in the feeling of joy, like a feeling of gratitude for just breathing.

As you breathe, think about one thing. At that moment you have no troubles, no concerns. At that moment you have no debt, no plans, no obligations. At that moment you are at peace. Even if it is just a second or a moment you have touched on something powerful. You have found your state of grace, just being.

It has started. With practice it will grow from a spark to a flame to a fire. Within. The peace within you will spread in ways you cannot conceive. It will touch people subconsciously as you encounter them. It will permeate all aspects of your daily life.

You have let your past go. The day is done. Be filled with gratitude. You are in the moment. The Now.

~Harrison Barr

Copyright 2015

Authorized use of beautiful photograph by photographer Kevin Hoffman, “Early Maui Sunset”, copyright 2014. Please see Kevin Hoffman’s photography at http://www. photographeronmaui.com


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