Living in the present is a concept I first came across many, many years ago when I first began to study Buddhism in my mid teens. It is concept that can be found in pretty much all spiritual and religious texts including yoga, and is one of the main themes of the Bhagavad Gita, a yoga philosophy classic. Being present means that you are not striving for particular results or outcomes, but are immersed in the here and now, finding joy in the task at hand, in the current experience of being, rather than searching for it in the future. No more " it will all be better once the house is sold and we can move into a bigger place" and the like. Instead, being in the present allows you to look at the challenges in your life as as an obstacle course - a necessary part of your path and a learning opportunity. It also teaches you to let go of attachment - to those wanted outcomes and a desire to know what the future may bring.
Having been introduced to it at such an early age, it is something I have always kept in mind and tried to incorporate in my life. Generally not very successfully. I have certainly gotten better at it over the years and know the benefits found when I do manage to stay in the here and now, I know that when I stay present my sometimes mundane day job (I refer to it as the hamster wheel and my work uniform as my hamster suit ), becomes more bearable. Instead yearning for the future and the life I know I intend to pursue, i accept that I am currently right where I need to be. And I am - I know this - at present I need to remain in this job as much as it irks me. But to rail against it and my current life situation, makes it all the worse. If I can accept with equanimity and gratitude that the present is the place for me, then I can find joy in my less than ideal situation.
After a couple of years of singledom, I have recently started seeing a bloke. He is, quite frankly, awesome. Now, let's face it, often when we start a new relationship we find ourselves impatient to know where it is going, we start to fantasise or worry about the future and we completely miss the present. I don't know why, but this isn't the case for me this time round. I am so ridiculously in the present, it kinda shocks me. And the joy - oh the joy! - of just enjoying what we have now, of not caring what the future holds, of just savouring every moment I am with him.........it leaves me so incredibly grateful to be alive and to be experiencing this moment, this life, right now.
So folks, I guess the moral of the story is stay in the present as much as possible. The past is gone, the stories have been told and it can't be revisited, and the future is not for us to know but for us to experience once we are there. In the present is where the joy lies. In the here and now, in this life, in this moment.