Stepping Stones

by Carol Hansen

"Living in the Moment"

©1994

One of the most powerful ideas that has aided me in my transformation is the idea of living my life in the "present moment". I had heard that term a lot but did not really relate to it until I took a workshop that emphasized what "living in the present moment" entailed. It means letting go of the past and letting go of the future. Whew--that seemed like a pretty tall order!

During that workshop we were asked to consider the concept that living our life was like riding a horse. Most of us are riding that horse backwards holding onto a sack that we are pulling behind us--that sack is our past. As we ride further and further, that sack grows larger and larger until the sack takes up our entire field of vision. Our whole life is lived through our vision of the past. All we have to do is let go of that sack. That then frees us to turn around on the horse and ride forward through life.

That evening as I was lying in bed ready to doze off, a strange thing occurred. My mind began to run a video tape of my life in reverse. I replayed all the major events of my life until I was back in the womb. Then poof--I felt as if a bubble had popped and I knew that I had let go of the past. It was pretty powerful. The next morning I felt a sense of freedom that I had never felt before.

Letting go of the future was a little more difficult and I cannot point to one incident that enabled me to do so. However, as I became more conscious of "staying in the moment" I found that I began to let go of my attachment to the future outcome of events in my life. I didn't stop setting goals, but I stopped being attached to their outcome. I began to let Spirit guide and direct me daily. Each morning during my meditation I give myself over to Spirit trusting that the infinite wisdom of the universe will guide me perfectly. I still keep a calendar, but that is engraved in sand. I see clients and teach my classes and do my work, but underlying all my planning is the knowledge that all is subject to change at a moment's notice. And that's OK with me.

By living my life in the moment I am experiencing a freedom I had never thought possible. I no longer worry. I no longer fear. After all, worry and fear are products of attachment to the past or the future. Once that attachment is released, worry and fear are also released.

Another beneficial side effect of living in the moment came to me through a tape by Deepak Chopra. He says that when we live in the present moment we stop the aging process. I have felt for a while now that I had somehow reversed the aging process in myself. I felt that my Lighten Up process had something to do with that but I did not understand the connection until I heard that tape. Part of the Lighten Up process involves staying in the present moment for 5 minutes a day. That 5 minutes probably wouldn't have a noticeable effect all by itself, but it does bring "staying present" into our consciousness. That awareness then begins to permeate other activities in our life until "staying present" becomes the way to "BE".