5 ways to stay in the now

“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.”
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

My mind doesn’t power down. I think it’s normal. I hope it is.

I remember something said yesterday. I plan for needs of tomorrow.

It’s okay to think of past and future. Even necessary. Some of the time.

But most of the time, I need to stay in the now. Isn’t that what Jesus said to do?

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

But I don’t do it well. I drift naturally toward keeping my head in the future, so staying predominantly centered in the now is a struggle.

  • To pay attention to God in THIS day
  • To be aware of him in THIS situation
  • To focus on what he’s put in from of me in THIS moment

So here’s what’s helping lately.

the-power-of-now

It’s thoughts from Eckhart Tolle in his book, The Power of Now. Not everything in the book is useful to me (and some seem downright wacky, to me anyway), but these items below strike me as true to what Jesus teaches. And truth is truth wherever it’s found.

1. Work with, not against

“Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.”

2. Say “yes” to the present

“Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation. Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment.”

3. Remember grace is now

“Psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. . . . You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection.”

4. Know God works here

“If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity.”

5. Surrender in the moment
“Surrender is not weakness. There is great strength in it. Only a surrendered person has spiritual power. . . . Die to the past every moment. You don’t need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being.”

God has proven faithful in the past, and he will be faithful in the future. God in this moment is all we need to be concerned about. It is enough.

This space is where he dwells. He is, after all, I AM. He’ll always be here.

Stay in the now.

* * *

Do you tend to think more about the past, the future, or this present moment? (I extend too far into the future.) Please share in the comments.

Another interesting book on time: The Time Paradox

19 thoughts on “5 ways to stay in the now

  1. Nikole Hahn

    Hi, Lisa! I haven’t been here in a while and thought I’d drop in. Saying yes to the present is so important to us with pasts. Being in the present, too. Enjoying every moment. Not letting the past weigh us down.

  2. Lynn Severance

    Lisa, I appreciated each thought in the excerpts you shared from this book.
    They are reminders I need at this current time – how like God to bring them in this way and through you!

    “You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. . . . You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection.”

    How true this is. God covers my past, is “only present in the present” and goes ahead to prepare my further. You’d think I’d get this but it surely is a reality that needs nudging over and over again

    Thanks!
    Lynn
    Lynn Severance recently posted…Devotionals for the Seasons – Spring # 6 – Being Called a FriendMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad the Lord works among us to give us what we need, Lynn. The message of staying in the now is one that I need to hear from many different places, and yes, over and over again. I’m always blessed to have you pop into my present! So glad to hear the good report this morning from you and David. A great way to start this first day of Spring.
      LisaNotes recently posted…5 ways to stay in the nowMy Profile

  3. PL

    > My mind doesn’t power down.

    Same here. I have a terrible time trying to get to sleep or even relax. I’m finally realising that it must be a kind of skill that you have to learn and practice. So that’s what I’m trying to do now (when I was younger and single I would just drink).

    I love your #1.

    The present is the only thing that exists. The past and the future don’t really exist. So, God is not just here and now and with us, but *only* here and now.

    Possibly the Devil is in the past and the future (part of my personal mythology has it that the Devil inhabits fetishes and false ideologies, especially anti-human ones).

    Thank you for writing.

    PL
    PL recently posted…Pastrix review — part 1My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad this spoke to you like it did me. I don’t have a hard time relaxing (especially if I planned it, ha), but I am a horrible sleeper for various reasons. For a year now I have been practicing centering prayer, a type of meditation, and it helps me go back to sleep easier. It operates on the same principle that God is in the now, and so this is the moment I want to stay in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this; always food for thought.
      LisaNotes recently posted…5 ways to stay in the nowMy Profile

  4. Renee

    I, too, find it hard to power down my mind……I like your ideas on staying in the moment. It is a great comfort to know God is here, in the moment, always with us. Always!

  5. Trudy

    I really need this reminder. My mind is often worrying about the future or slipping back to the past. It’s hard when present situations trigger into past feelings, but I have to remind myself that I’m not that vulnerable, scared child anymore. This is today and I am stronger from it all. I love the thought about accepting whatever the present situation is, treating it as a friend, not as an enemy. I think that applies to whatever happened to us in the past as well. God turned it for our good or we wouldn’t be encouraging each other today. Love The Message version – “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now…” Thank you, Lisa.
    Trudy recently posted…God Whispers: Stay Real, Stay With Me, Let Me StayMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your comment reminded me of the Welcoming Prayer. Have you heard of it? It’s similar to these thoughts about being accepting of our present situation, whatever it is, but doesn’t preclude changing things that need changing.
      http://www.lisanotes.com/welcoming-prayer/

      First we have to accept what is before we can successfully change it anyway. Yes, you’re so right that we are stronger for having coming through our past! I love the Message version so much too–God is doing something right now.
      LisaNotes recently posted…5 ways to stay in the nowMy Profile

  6. Jerralea

    Yes! I love what you said: “God has proven faithful in the past, and he will be faithful in the future.” That is the only way to get through the trials and tests that comes my way. Remembering that.
    Jerralea recently posted…A Modest HeartMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I so agree, Jerralea. God did often tell his people in the Old Testament to remember the past so they could trust him in the present and for the future. So it definitely is helpful to keep our memories sharp of what he has already done so we’ll be confident of what he’s doing now.
      LisaNotes recently posted…5 ways to stay in the nowMy Profile

  7. Beverley

    Hi Lisa,

    I liked the fact that someone else started their reply to you like this and i have decided to do the same. I mean i know your name and we have been hanging out with each other for some time, so it feels right to do so.

    As for the Power of Now (the book) i have tried to read it several times but i think your term of ‘wacky’ is about right and yet you have found some good in it too. Maybe i’ll read it again?
    Beverley recently posted…Christ and the Rich Young ManMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Hi Beverley,
      Yes, that’s a good way to start :)

      When I first tried to read Tolle’s “A Good Earth”, I felt the same way as you did about “The Power of Now.” I couldn’t get past how weird it seemed to me so I quit reading it. I might return to it later and see what good I can glean from it. Or not.

      We each have to make our own decisions about whether to keep going through a book to mine the diamonds when it seems like there’s a lot of coal dust in the way. It depends on so many individual factors. That makes me hesitant sometimes to recommend books at all because there’s always things I don’t agree with in each of them. But for “The Power of Now”, at this time anyway, I did find it worthwhile for me. If you do ever pick it up again, let me know what you think.
      LisaNotes recently posted…5 ways to stay in the nowMy Profile

  8. Krista

    Like you, I extend too far into the future and it gets me into trouble a lot. I’m trying (by the grace of God) to live in the now. I have to remind myself that God is in control and only He knows the rest of our stories. Our job is to trust and fully submit to him, he’ll work out the rest.

    I particularly liked this. “Psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. . . . You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection.”
    Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I naturally lean in to the future too much too, Jean. Doing it some is good (we have to look ahead–and we have much to look forward to!), but I tend to overdo. I love the reward that comes, though, with those moments that I do throw down an anchor in the present and stay here longer.
      LisaNotes recently posted…Fresh Air–Book reviewMy Profile


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