Living in the now is the best way to create an intended future. If we focus upon building our house brick by brick solidly, we will have a tremendous foundation for our future. Whenever I read spiritual literature which says focus upon the now. I have thoughts about unfinished business from the past and things that need to be addressed in the future.

Upon further reflection I realize that the past is gone and can’t be changed. Yet if you do things fully in the moment, you can remedy mistakes and complete unfinished business by focusing on the perfection within each moment. By truly focusing upon the moment, you are becoming one with the universe. Eastern and Western philosophers say that you can reach enlightenment in one second. Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is near.” While many interprets that to mean that judgment day is coming. I interpret that statement to mean that if one truly realizes who they are they can enter the Kingdom of God because it is already within us. We are too focused upon the past and too worried about the future to comprehend that everything that we need is already within us. God gave us the breath of life. When we are no longer able to take in that breath, physically, we die. If God is the breath of life, then every time we breathe we are taking God into our physical bodies. God is always within us. I am not advocating an impractical life. We need to examine our past to proceed with our lives. We need to decide what actions or behaviors lead to further security and success and what behaviors do not. However, we don’t need to dwell upon the past as it cannot be changed. We should emulate the sports teams that review game film and then move on to the next game.

I am not supporting a life where one does not lay a foundation for the future. We all know that a house with a faulty foundation will crumble eventually. It cannot withstand its’ own weight, let alone survive any great storms. We should focus upon the future in terms of setting goals and direction. Once we have set those goals we need to address the present situation because as we have heard,“A journey of a thousand steps begins with one step.”

The beauty of living in the present is that you have found the place where God exists. When one focuses upon the tasks at hand without fearing past mistakes or worrying about future outcomes, one has found that sweet spot. We as a society love to see someone on fire. We see it in extemporaneous speeches where people speak from the heart. We see it when firefighters, policemen, and soldiers risk their lives to save ours. We see it in sporting events and we say that person is unconscious. They are clearly in a moment where they are one with the universe.

I read the opening chapter of Herbie Hancock’s autobiography recently where he talked about a moment when he was on stage with Miles Davis. Herbie described the moment as perfection. Tony Williams was swinging on the drums, Ron Carter was killing it on bass, Wayne Shorter was, well …being Wayne Shorter and of course Miles was leading them all. Suddenly, as they were reaching their peak, Herbie hit the wrong chord. According to Herbie, it was really wrong. He cringed and was too embarrassed to look at Miles who was in the middle of a solo. Miles did not hesitate for a second. He heard the “wrong” chord, modulated his solo and took the song in a different direction. The audience had no idea that Herbie had made a mistake. After the show, Herbie apologized profusely to Miles for making such a bad mistake. Miles winked at him, smiled and just walked away. Miles, the avuncular and quietly edifying person that he was, without saying anything taught Herbie Hancock an invaluable lesson. Miles taught him that we always stay in the present. Miles did not look at that moment as a mistake. Miles, with alacrity, simply used Herbie’s “wrong” chord to move in a new direction without a second thought.

Herbie Hancock’s book is entitled Possibilities it is great reading about his life as a musician and Buddhist. It focuses upon all of life’s possibilities when we live in the moment and are not bound by past fears or future worries. I know that many of us have responsibilities. I am not advocating we do a Sherwood Anderson and walk out on our families to write “Winesburg, Ohio.” (Albeit, it was one of the best books ever written.) We need to find balance. Of course, please take care of your families and meet those responsibilities. However, after engaging in self-reflection, don’t forget to move on to the present moment. Make that first step the best step you could take given your circumstances. If you keep focusing upon the small perfection of each moment, you will look up one day and see that you have built the mansion that Jesus so eloquently referred to when he said, “In my father’s house there are many mansions.” I still believe we can have heaven here on earth once we learn to live each day in the moment with intention and focus.

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