While one’s attention can be in the moment, it can also go into the past and focus on the future. This is something that is likely to take place for most people on the planet and it could also be described as normal.
At times, one will want to reflect on the past to remind them of something or to get in touch with a time in their life when they felt good. Just as there will be moments when ones thinks about how their life might be in the future.
And as long one doesn’t place too much attention on the past or the future and is able to focus on the present moment, there shouldn’t be a problem. It is only when one puts too much of their attention on what happened or what might happen that they will start to become out of balance.
If one is in balance, it is going to mean that they are able to live in the moment as opposed to being caught up in the past or the future. This is not to say that there won’t be moments when one needs to focus on the past or the future; as there could be times when they need to.
One might think about how they would like their life to be or what they want to achieve, and they end up leaving the present moment. Or one could look back on a time in their life when they went on holiday or they think about how they felt when they had achieved something in the past.
Thinking about the future is also a way for one to make plans and to decide what they will do tomorrow or next week. If this didn’t take place, they could find that they agree to do things when they have already agreed to do something, and their life might not change as they haven’t made any plans or created any goals.
Looking into the past can also be important if one is engaging in any kind of healing or self-development. What they find out through looking back is then a vital part of them being able to move forward.
So to go forward or back is going to be necessary at times, but if this is a way of life, it is naturally going to create problems. This could then be a sign that one is avoiding what is taking place, and this could relate to what is happening externally and/or internally.
Perhaps one is living in an environment that is dysfunctional or they might have experienced some kind of loss. Focusing on how their life used to be or how it might be in the future is then a way for them to regulate how they feel.
Part of Life
And as loss is part of life and there are going to be moments when one’s present moment is not how they want it to be, it is to be expected that there will be times when one leaves the present moment. If this becomes a way of life, it could mean that one needs to seek some kind of support.
But as times passes, one may soon settle down and it should be possible for them to be present once more. They might even need to change their environment if where they live or work is affecting their wellbeing.
However, in today’s world, it is a lot easier for someone to leave the present moment. And this because technology is often as much a part of someone’s life as air is to their lungs. One longer needs to sit down to use a computer or to look at a big screen to use the internet; they only need to look at their phone.
One of the biggest reasons why people use the internet is to use social media. This gives them to the chance to connect with others and to share things with their ‘friends’. Yet, what they see on these sites and what they share doesn’t always reflect reality.
What is seen on social media could be compared to a photograph, in as much as it is simply a picture and not the experience itself. But this is not the whole truth; as what one sees on social media might not reflect reality.
And when one looks at a picture or watches a video that they have made, they are going to be reminded of how they felt during that moment. Yet, while a picture or a video will remind them, it won’t be as good as the real thing.
So through having the need to capture what one is going at a certain point in their life, and this could be through taking pictures and/or filming, one is no longer embracing the present moment. They are then no longer experiencing reality, they are observing it.
The need to share ones experiences with others on social media then stops them from being able to embrace the experience. What happened has been captured and can be looked at at any moment, but one will have lost the most important thing – the experience itself.
It would then be easy to say that the best approach would be for one to longer take pictures or to film things; this way, one would be able to enjoy the experience. But this is something that has taken place for years, and long before social media was even invented.
What is different is that it is easier than ever before to capture what is taking place in any given moment, and this need is often greater when one uses social media. Showing others could be a way for them to let other people know what they are doing or it could be to create a certain image.
This is not to say that one should no longer take pictures of films things, but what it does illustrate is how one can miss out on what is taking when they are caught up in doing everything they can to share their experience with others. Upon reflection, one might decide to put more attention on being present or they might not.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.