Last night my yoga teacher was talking about how we could deepen our practice, how we could get more out of each class, out of each pose. Her advice was to be present. Be present right now.
This is not a new idea to me, or to most of you, probably. It’s a common tenant of Buddhist philosophy and of yoga philosophy. And although it sounds simple, I find it hard to do.
My teacher went on to say that most of us vacillate between the past and the future, and spend very little time actually experiencing the present. She then suggested that the past is usually associated with fear, the present with desire. We spend most of our time moving between fear and desire. Fear and desire. The past, our negative past experiences, has taught us to be cautious, cynical, fearful. While our minds tend to fill the future with all that we long for, with all those things (relationships, financial milestones, new jobs, cars, houses) that would, finally, make us happy, finally bring us fulfillment.
The irony, of course, is that if you’re ever actually going to experience happiness, you have to do it now. Past happiness is gone, and future happiness may or may not arise. If you’re going to find contentment, you better damn well do it now.
My teacher spent perhaps two minutes on this idea, maybe less. It was one of many things she spoke of during the 90-minute class, but it stuck with me. The reason, I think, was because it spoke to me of this coming weekend, Labor day weekend. This weekend is a marker of milestones for me, this year especially.
You see, the Saturday of Labor day weekend marks my 8th anniversary with my husband, and my 1st anniversary with my boyfriend. (Neat trick, huh? And I’m not even French!)
Yes, yes, my soon-to-be-ex husband and I have already signed the divorce agreement and are just waiting for the divorce to be legal. And my boyfriend knows all about it, and was brave enough to get involved with me months before the legal document even came into being. But these two relationships illustrate so well (for me) what my teacher was talking about.
My past is full of relationship failures, the biggest, of course, my recently failed marriage. This makes me cautious, untrusting, cynical. The future is full of endless possibilities, including happily-ever-after with my boyfriend. It’s easy for me to project way into the future, to image all sorts of ways in which this relationship, my current relationship, will fulfill me in the future.
The reality, of course, is that life happens one day at a time; that this Saturday is all its own.
That being the case, let's enjoy it. N-O-W.