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The power of now

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- I want to talk this week about our addiction to the past. So many of us suffer because we cannot let go. We can’t let go of the past. We can’t let go of regrets and guilt. Too many people are married to a past that is unchangeable. That is the reality of the past. It is past. It is done, and nothing and no one can change it. This is the part that gets under our skin. There are things in this world and in our lives that we simply cannot control. You have no power over it. But we spend precious minutes, hours and days stressing about a past that cannot be changed.

In the same token, we spend countless hours worrying about a future that we also cannot control. Indeed, we must plan and prepare, but as the old song says, “que sera sera”, “what will be will be”. There is a sense in which we can plan and prepare for the future, but we cannot dictate it. For example, we know that our lifestyles will have an impact on our health. So we can exercise daily, we can be intentional about proper nutrition and doing all of the things that we can to ensure we will be healthy later in life. Nevertheless, you still may get cancer. You still may find yourself with some health condition that was beyond your power to change or control. The problem is not planning and preparing, the problem lies in the worrying. We are a nation of unhappy people simply because we cannot let go of the past and we cannot stop worrying about the future.

Here is the solution: now. This is the great truth that ancient philosophers, wise men and women, mystics, sages and gurus have all realized. NOW is all that there is! There is nothing else. The past is done, and the future is not yet. If we spend so much time and precious energy preoccupied with what has happened, and worrying about what might happen we never get to experience the here and now. We never get to appreciate the present moment. We are missing precious time and moments with our children, our spouses, our friends and family. I challenge us this week, when we feel our minds running down the rabbit hole of the past and the future to gently bring it back to now. Focus on your breath; pay attention to a sound or smell around you; feel your feet on the ground. These are simply tools to bring you back to now. Experience now, and find yourself much more content and even happier.