Do you ever have times when you want to just go away and hide from your problems? A sanctuary is a place where fugitives can go and be protected from persecution, prosecution, or arrest. Could you become a fugitive from the persecution and stress of worries about the past and the future? The sanctuary from your worries is a magical place called the present moment. When you reside in the sanctuary of the present moment you become liberated from worries. All of your focus is on what is happening right this minute, and ultimately right now is all that matters.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Our attention is a priceless commodity. When our attention is focused on things that we cannot change, such as events of the past, we waste time and energy. This does not mean that we cannot learn from the past. Indeed thoughtful reflection on past events can help us to create valuable insights and lessons that we can apply to our present situation. But when we continually relive past experiences without the benefit of insightful speculation, we rob ourselves of the opportunities and possibilities that are inherent in the present moment.
When our attention is excessively focused on the future we neglect the emerging potential of the present moment and miss the chance to make positive changes based on what we already are experiencing.
The benefits of staying in the present moment sanctuary are more than just the avoidance of stress and anxiety. The ability to focus our attention exclusively on what is happening now can help us to:
- Improve Our Performance – Negative thoughts about past failures, fears of worst case future scenarios, and anxieties about our competencies and abilities can inhibit our capability to do our best.
- Improve Our Focus and Concentration – When our attention is fully committed to the present moment distractions are greatly reduced and our ability to concentrate and focus on what is at hand is enhanced. We think more clearly.
- Gain Peace of Mind – When we are free from worries about the past and the future we are much more comfortable, peaceful and at ease.
- Improve Our Mental Health -Anxiety releases adrenalin that prepares us for a fight or flight response to perceived threats. Prolonged states of anxiety interfere with our ability to properly assess situations, and inhibit sound judgments that are necessary for a balanced and healthy mental outlook.
- Improve Our Relationships -Negative expectations and holding grudges from the past creates barriers between us and those around us that make cooperation difficult. Teamwork becomes nearly impossible, and the functioning of the entire organization suffers whether it occurs in a relationship, a family, a sports team, a business, a government, or a country.
“We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Often the greatest challenge to staying present, and moving beyond past grievances and bad feelings, is the ability to simply let go of them. Letting go means that we will not allow negative thoughts about past events to become the current focus of our attention and experience. Our ego, our often inflated sense of our importance, can be a huge stumbling block to our ability to let go. The ego says “but they did xxx which really made me angry”.
Anger is a reaction to a stimulus or event outside of you. Even if the anger was “justified” the unresolved hostility can become an open sore that can only be a source of ongoing anxiety and bad feeling. Perhaps our “pride” will not let us forget.
If there is an action that we can take to resolve the situation, develop an action plan and a timeline that will let us address the problem. If the situation can be addressed right now, then do so. If not, come back into the present moment and pay attention to whatever is happening around us right now.
The present moment sanctuary is not an escape. Living in the present moment sanctuary will not solve all of your problems. However this sanctuary can be an oasis from which we can more clearly perceive the challenges that confront us without the excess baggage of negative thoughts about the past and the future. The present is all that we truly have and effectively utilizing the present moment increases our chances for success in all of our pursuits.