31. Taking Risks and Developing Personal Potential
The past is dead. The future is imaginary. Happiness can only be in the Eternal, Now Moment —Ken Keyes
The philosophy of taking one day at a time is a healthy one. When you live in either the past or the future, you miss what is going on right in front of your nose. When you are going through hard times, the habit of living essentially in the present, one day at a time, or even one hour at a time, can literally mean the difference between breakdown and sanity. Living in the moment can help you endure a seemingly unbearable situation and find meaning in the simplest things, even when circumstances appear hopeless.
Meanings constantly change because your life is constantly changing. The ring that you wore yesterday and treasured as a sign of eternal fidelity may be tarnishing in the back of your kitchen drawer tomorrow. Meanings are found in the present. Looking to the future for happiness or living on past glories is a sure setup for disappointment and a way to lose touch with what you most want and need to support your wellness today.
Life is less satisfactory when it is lived only in a linear mode—constantly moving along a line that extends into the future, piling one experience upon another. It’s a little like being a tourist in a great museum trying to see everything in a few hours. But fortunately we can learn to live in and savor the present moment. Poets and songwriters have struggled for ages to express this concept. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” and other memorable quotes remind us to appreciate the present. Mystics and spiritual teachers have assured us of the same thing. Jesus said, “So, do not worry about tomorrow.” Spiritual master Meher Baba continually reminded his friends: “Don’t worry, be happy.”
A Day at a Time