The Now - by Anne Lindelauff
In Dutch, ‘het nu’. In these busy times, when we all care very much about what our future looks like – filled with success, happiness, and preferably with financial freedom, as well as both wanting to leave our past behind us and forgetting it – we all find it rather hard to live in the now. Being in the moment is more of a challenge than something that comes naturally to us.
In fact, we are constantly in the now. Always, every second, even if we are not aware of it. While we are endlessly scrolling on our smartphones, rushing from appointment to appointment, sitting in class or in an extremely engaging meeting, the now is rushing past us. The now is something intangible that happens continuously. Now, just a second ago, and in a moment. It is actually rather confusing. So the now exists in the past, in the now, but also in the future. But it exists only at the moment it takes place. Oh dear, that sounds like advanced mathematics And we have not even touched on the theory of the multiverse, with multiple universes existing simultaneously in which our existence and actions are slightly different from the universe in which we live now. Then consider that ad infinitum.
Wow, this is all rather tiring. Can we just make everything a little bit simpler?
In fact, we actually can. Namely, by living in the now.
How do you live in the now? Living in the now means seeing and feeling things that are happening now. Observing and registering things. This means that when it is raining, you both notice it and feel the rain. Feeling restless, and also knowing that you feel restless. I practice living in the now by meditating or going on a nice walk in silence and taking a moment to enjoy looking around. I also find that taking good care of myself by taking a hot shower or doing some stretching exercises help me to be in the now.
I notice that when I do not take these moments for myself, I quickly lose myself in the hectic pace of life. In other words, the things I have to do, the things I want, the expectations others have of me. This might also include the expectations I think others have of me, or the results I 'must' achieve that are in my (near) future. By focusing on the future, I become stressed and restless and lose my connection with the now and therefore the connection with myself. Sometimes I end up in a negative spiral of restlessness, without realizing it. Those are tough moments. The stupid thing is that the answer to these restless feelings is very close to home: briefly take a step back to the now. If only it were that easy.
The more I meditate, go for a walk, or take good care of myself by doing fun things and relaxing regularly, the faster I identify this spiral of restlessness. Recognizing and stating such moments removes a great deal of the restlessness. That gives a good feeling.
After, I find that taking a moment to be fully in the now brings calm and relaxation again. Everything seems a little less big and scary than I sometimes make it out to be in my head. Life exists in the here and now, and I am in the middle of it. Whether I am currently working on my deadlines or just sitting still and having some me time. No global catastrophe will be caused by me taking that time. On the contrary, it even gives me a reality check and realization of my place in this vast universe. A universe in which I exist an infinite number of times and in which another Anne is perhaps still stuck in her spiral of restlessness like a headless chicken.
12-12-2021 written by Anne Lindelauff