Present Moment is the Only Reality

Present moment reality

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by Jayaram V

Have you ever thought that the only thing real about your life is the present moment? Everything else is either a thought or a memory or a recollection. Whatever happened to you, all that you experienced in the past is now just a mental formation. The reality of it has passed and gone, and you will never get it back except in your imagination. It is true with regard to all your relationships also. Except when you are with them, the people in your life become memories or mental formations.

Thus, for a large part of our lives, since we rarely pay attention to the present moment, our relationship with the world and with others is with the images or the impressions we form about them. If you met a person and that experience was unpleasant or negative, you will carry that impression with you until you meet that person again, and when you meet him or her next time your reaction will depend upon the perceptions you stored in your mind about that first meeting.

It is also true that there is not much difference between your imagination and the memories of your past. Both exist in your mind only. Only you can tell the difference. Some people cannot even distinguish between them. People also tend to rewrite their memories as time goes by, which makes the difference between them even harder to find.

The sun and the moon, all the stars you see in the night sky, they are not real, but images from the past which reach you after traveling a long distance at the speed of light. Everything which you perceive in your environment is also an image of the past and not real, since even those images take time to reach your eyes. It may be a fraction of a second. Still, they do not represent your current reality and they still constitute your past. In other words, we rarely find the word in which we live in its present moment. The world is always a moment or a fraction of moment ahead of you.

Thus, you can see that everything in your life, except your present moment, exist in your mind as a thought or a memory or a perception. Only the present moment is real. It is the same about the world or the universe, in which you live. They are always ahead of you, and you rarely find them in their current moment.You do not realize this truth until you pay attention and realize the reality of it. Your past is the sum of your life, and your present moment is a product of it. Before you even pay attention to it, it is gone.

From this it is very clear that what we consider real is momentary. The rest is the sum of the momentary realities you experienced, and of them what you remember is but a fraction since the rest becomes either erased or lost to your active memory. Whether you lead an exhilarating life or dull life, you truly live only in the present moment, and carry with you fragments of those moments as memories.

Most of the time you do not deal with real people or events but with your thoughts, images and memories or of them. If our observations are faulty or if we are prone cognitive distortions and perceptual errors, most likely we will bring them into our thoughts and relationships and act accordingly.

It is why it is important to be in the present moment and pay attention to the world around you, without bringing your past into it or superimposing your current reality with memories and mental impressions of your past. Whatever you experience and whomever you meet, keep to the moment and let the reality of it be your sole concern. Only then you will have an opportunity to be open-minded, spontaneous and mindful rather than acting out of the programming or the conditioning to which you are subject.

However, for most people, it may not always be possible to be in the present moment or be mindful, since the mind has its own ways to act and react. It has to conserve energy and resort to shortcuts to ensure that you are ready to deal with your life or circumstances and act appropriately. However, we must at least do so wherever possible and check our assumptions and preconceived notions whenever we meet people, or solve important problems.

Although theoretically, your present moment and your experience of it are real, in reality a lot depends upon how you perceive or experience that moment. If you are lost in thoughts, if you do not pay attention, if you lack discernment or if you are asleep, you may not truly experience it all but only just an illusion of it. It may not even register in your mind and you may not remember it at all.

This is the reality. The reality of reality is that we do not experience it much. For most of us life happens in the present moment but exists only in our minds as a vague memory that too when we perceive it and remember it. Pay attention and be mindful if you want to remember your life without distortions and illusions and avoid misunderstandings and relationship problems.

Since your present moment experience and perception are important, remember the following.

  1. Keep an open mind
  2. Practice mindfulness
  3. Reduce the mental noise
  4. Become aware of your conditioning and programming
  5. Question your assumptions and preconceived notions
  6. Keep a journal if you want to refresh your memory
  7. Practice effective listening
  8. Be natural, spontaneous and yourself

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