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"What time is it?"

If there were no humans here on Earth, would time really matter?

Now, this isn't one of those "if a tree falls..." type of philosophical questions, but let's really think about it on a deeper level. Say the Earth was solely populated by nature; trees, plants, wildlife and all that jazz, the concept of time would be totally meaningless. The only time there would be is Now, and if you think about it on an even deeper level, Now is the only time that any of us ever experience, period.

Confused? I hear ya.

We spoke back in the previous blog about our thoughts and how they create our realities. Well our thoughts and time go hand in hand, in that if we observe what our thoughts are actually made up of, we'd quickly determine that they are mostly consumed by past and future, leaving the present moment completely covered up by time.

First, let's look at past. I'd be the first one to put my hands up and admit that I excessively think about past experiences, and I know I'm not alone in that. But what we don't really notice, is how our overthinking about what has happened in the past, is falsely projected onto our perception of what is currently happening right now. We create judgements and expectations of situations based on our mind's past eye making comparisons to situations we've experienced previously. A relevant example of this; sitting in our homes during lockdown and thinking back to a time pre-Covid, where we went down to the pub with our mates, things got carried away as they usually do and we ended up having one of those nights that we'll talk about for years to come (or what we can remember of it anyway.) Now whilst it's fine to reminisce of good times, it often leads us to feel a sense of mourning for what was, which then in turn makes us feel sad in the present, reinforcing the point that our emotions are created from thoughts internally, without any prompt from external factors.

This would be the same when we think back on any bad times we've experienced, we remember the feelings we felt at the time through our thoughts, get caught up in what we "should" have said or done, which then recreates those feelings in our bodies in the present, and we misperceive this as "this is how I'm feeling now." This is why really allowing yourself to feel your emotions at the time they come up for you is so important, because if we don't, we hold onto them and they just keep turning up in future situations and reinventing itself as present.

Let's now move onto future. The truth is, the future we create in our minds only ever exists in our minds, never in actuality. We project our thoughts into the future to seek some kind of fulfilment that we believe we can't have now, "Things will be better when such and such happens. I will be happier when I have XYZ" and so on. We're wishing our lives away to get to a moment in time we've made ourselves believe for some reason will be better than this moment right now. But we will only ever experience that future moment as the current moment. Our expectations is what leaves us disappointed, and not the actual reality in which our expectations aren't met.

A hard truth for me as someone who loves to plan and organise, (what I'm going to wear to a night out a month away, what I'm going to order a menu in in a few weeks, what I'll say or do when I eventually do this or that) is that whilst setting goals and making plans is a great way to keep us on track to get to where we want to be, we end up obsessing so much on sticking to plans and fixate on the "shoulds" of what we think we need, that we get in our own way and only create more anxiety. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't take action, but to do so from a less controlling state.

Of course there is no denying that we need thoughts and time to function in todays world, but there is a line between dipping in and out when needed and letting it to take over and cause us suffering now. Which brings us back to our original point, that the only time we will ever know and the only time that matters, is the Now. The present moment.

FUN FACT: we can't change things that have already happened, and we can't control what hasn't yet happened.

So the only thing we can do, is let go of what isn't and pay more attention to what is.

Now I hear you cry "but what if the present isn't always happy and there's bad shit going on in the world??" But how you feel about what's going on isn't going to change it, it will still happen regardless, it is, what it is. Your thoughts are making judgements about the situation and therefore the negativity you are feeling. By noticing when you do this, you can observe the thoughts as "just thinking" and in that moment, you are choosing to be more present. Whatever may be happening in the present, accept it, don't go against it, work with it, for you can only choose your perception of it, and not what is actually happening.

If we focus our attention less on the things we can't control and more on controlling how we experience our moment to moment basis by being more present, we create more space for love and trust that everything is happening in divine order.

It is natural for us to get carried away in thinking, but you can consciously witness when you get swept away by the waves of thought and bring yourself back to the present moment. This is something that will take great practise daily, but you can start by choosing to be more present when doing simple tasks each day, such as brushing your teeth, or showering; focus your attention on your senses during such tasks, such as the water on your skin, the smells from the products, the sound of the running water, to bring yourself into the present. Another way is by focusing on your breathing, the air travelling through your nose, the expansion of your torso on your inhale and then deflation on the exhale. This takes you right out of your thoughts and into the creative silence of Now, even for only momentarily. But the more you do it, the more your mind will just automatically go there.

A great way of practising this daily is through meditation. People have a lot of perceptions of meditation, "it's not for me. I can't do it, my mind is too busy. I don't have time for it. I don't believe in all that stuff" and this is usually before they have even given it a chance. For me, meditation is what really helps to loosen my grip on control and just let go and allow things to just be, creating gaps in my mind from thinking and allowing the space to be present. I first started out on the app Headspace, which guides you through practices and makes it so easy to follow. They offer a free 7 day course which you can go back to over and over without paying, or you can pay £10 a month to have unlimited access to their full range of guided and unguided meditations - I can't recommend it enough! I will be dedicating a full blog post to meditation in the coming weeks.

To really ground myself, I like to think about everything that I currently have and be so grateful for it. I start each morning by writing at least 3 things I am grateful for in that moment, realising that the external factors I get so caught up in are not what create my happiness, but from within, and find this an empowering way to start off your day in a present mind set. Another post I will be working on shortly is the power of a good morning routine and how they can set our intentions right for the day.

I strongly recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, which is described as "a guide to spiritual enlightenment" which you can take from that what you will (judgement and expectations caused by past) but it is such powerful read and really delves into this topic further and shows you how happiness is attainable in you now.

I believe that the secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life right now and making the most of every moment. Now no deep & thought provoking post would be complete without a quote from Buddha would it??

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry for the future or not to anticipate troubles. But to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

Until next time, keep on keeping on,

Nico x

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