A lot of the time when people talk about their life, they are actually referring to their life situation. Rarely does anybody talk about their actual life.
Life itself happens in the Now. Your life has never existed outside of the present moment and never will exist outside of the present moment. Your life, all life, happens in the Now that is always here.
Your life situation, on the other hand, the mental construct that you have about who you are, what you have done, where you have been, what your problems are etc, has nothing to do with your life. Because the life situation is created by the ego in the mind, it is not Now. In fact, it is usually anywhere but the Now. Your life situation is your thoughts about your past and ideas about your future. Even when you think that you are talking about how great or how terrible your life is right now, you are usually talking about how your life has been in recent days or weeks and what you think they are going to look like in future days or weeks.
Your life is Now. Your life situation only exists in an imagined past or future. Ironically, the past and future that you think up in your mind are thought about in the Now. There literally is only the Now.
Your life situation exists in time.
Your life is now.
Your life situation is mind-stuff.
Your life is real.
The only way to become sane again and free of one of the dysfunctional aspects of mind (the ego) is to find a way back into the Now and to stay there as much as you possibly can.
There are a number of ‘portals’ that can help re-direct you back into the Now (a.k.a. your actual life). These techniques come from the incredible Power of Now book:
- ‘Come to your senses‘ – the phrase is usually used when somebody is freaking out about something and you need them to pull themself together. This is no different. Your mind is creating problems, maybe even freaking out, and you need to pull yourself together and come back to your life. Look around. See the light, shapes, colours and textures of everything. Look, don’t label. Just look, otherwise the mind will be interrupting you again. Touch something. Listen to the sounds, listen to the silence in between the sounds.
- Become aware of your breathing – you are breathing all of the time but are very rarely aware of it. Once you have gained some awareness of the Now via your senses, become aware that you are breathing in and breathing out. Feel the light contraction of your stomach.
- Become aware of your whole body – one of the final anchors into the present moment is becoming aware of the ‘aliveness’ of your whole body. Put awareness (different to looking at) on to your left hand. Feel your left hand – what do you notice, without the use of words? Move your awareness over to your right hand, to your left foot, right knee, wherever you feel like it. You will come to realise that you are back in the present moment. You might have even forgotten to think for a little while. Yet you were still fully conscious without thought. This is one of the greatest discoveries about the present moment and about who you really are.
Come back to the present moment whenever you catch yourself drifting away. Your life is here. It doesn’t exist anywhere else.