By Dr. Laurel A. Sills
Much of the focus of therapy, self-help groups, and self-help books is on understanding how our past shapes our today. Truly, with more understanding and insight about our past, we can understand how we were shaped and why we react as we do today. In itself, however, this is not enough to heal our pain. We all have pain. We cannot avoid it. Yet, we can choose whether or not to hold on to it, let it go, expand it, or decrease it by our choices in the now.
Eckhart Tolle, author and lecturer, brilliantly explains how we can feel bliss and gain freedom from suffering in his book, The Power of Now. When we worry about the future too much, there is angst. When we obsess about the past too much, there is pain and regret. In the “Now,” there is no suffering. For example, when we break up with a loved one, it is natural to feel hurt, relive things that were said and done, and replay events over and over at first. If we continue to hold onto these thoughts beyond normal grieving, we will miss today and prolong our suffering. When we focus on “right here, right now, right in this very second” there is no pain. We breathe, we are alive, we exist, we experience life with all working senses, and that is beautiful. It is only when we fear the future or regret the past that we suffer.
Too often, we take for granted the power of Being in the Now. When we appreciate life, our health, our family, our friends, our shelter, our clothes, our minds, our soul and our connections to all things, we are happy. It is only when we compare now to what or where we think we should be, and what we should have done, that we suffer. The power of the Now has simplicity, acceptance, and gratitude at its core.
Interestingly, meditation, yoga and many Far Eastern philosophies teach the very same message. They share the practice of turning inward and tuning out the rest of the world in order to come to an inner peace, acceptance and oneness with the rest of the world. When we honor our edge in yoga, accept where we are without judgment in meditation and life and tune out extraneous stimuli, we become more alive, more joyous, more open, present and connected to other living things. We are open to having more loving feelings. We no longer suffer. Learning to live more in the present moment and use this way of thinking can help us heal our emotions.
Compassion is learned when we love and accept ourselves for who we are, where we have been and where we are at in the moment. As we empty out our mind of lots of extraneous noise, forget the self, and become alive to all things around us in a very open way, suffering ceases automatically.
This type of living takes practice, patience and acceptance. It does not come easy. It is best learned from someone who can guide you in meditation, teach self-acceptance and coach this way of thinking and living. With the understanding that feelings come for a reason and we need not judge ourselves for having them, we can become more self-accepting and compassionate. As a result, we automatically become more fully present for ourselves and for others. Experience the Now to heal your Self!