Spirituality can be expressed in different ways. One of them is displaying the importance of present time.
This means being completely present in the PRESENT. It is rare that we think about it but most of the moments in our life are wasted by thinking of the past or the future. Both tend to make us unhappy. The past may either be an interesting and worthwhile experience to remember or a sad one. We tend to compare the present situation with the happy past and search for the difference or rift that exists between the two. This thinking makes us unhappy.
When we think about the unhappy past, then it brings the sad memories of the past. This brings a cloud cover of unhappiness in your present world. The future is always uncertain. This unpredictability of the future creates a fear in one's mind that is the fear of failure. We may be prepared with all the tools required but unless the DAY comes when we get a chance to use our tools or resources, we are helpless. This helplessness of the unknown future in our minds make us unhappy. So where is the way out of this unhappy situation? The path of happiness is to be absolutely present in the PRESENT.
Do you know why people get into adventurous sports for fun? It allows them to get into the PRESENT. One wrong move or a slight distraction can take their lives away from them. So a fully focused mind is required to deal with that situation. People risk their lives to be in the complete happiness that is to be in the PRESENT. We don't have to risk our lives. We can attain such a state by being focused and forgetting the past and future.
Whatever we do in our daily lives can be done by being focused on the present. Our mind is similar to our stomach. If we already have burdens of past and future in our minds, then there will be limited space left to absorb the present situation and make most out of it.
I was asked some questions by a friend about being completely immersed in the PRESENT.
Q: "If we forget the past which has helped us to be what we are today, and by which we are identified, then aren't we nothing? Suddenly, our existence becomes fake and each moment we are starting life from scratch."
A: No. No one is telling us to forget the past. It is true that the past has made us what we are but the past was present sometime and we achieved what we could achieve only because we lived those moments completely. That is exactly what is to be done now, in this moment.
Q: "The future holds our aims, goals and ambitions which drive us, motivate us and give us the energy required to deal with certain tough situations in life. So how can we forget the future?"
A: Most of the times in our lives, we have seen that we make long term goals and are never able to achieve those. Why? What was wrong with the goals? Actually, there was nothing wrong with the goals. It is the approach to the goals that is the problem. We created goals to reach, but did we make the steps necessary to reach the goals?
Long term goals are achieved by breaking them down into a series of short-term goals. The short term goals are again broken into momentary goals. These momentary goals live in the PRESENT. If we deal with these momentary goals successfully by being completely in the PRESENT, we will finally achieve the long term goal.
So the key to happiness is to be in the PRESENT because the present does not have the space to hold the burden of past and future. It is a zone of absolute peace and one of the ways to attain spiritual enlightment.
(Ed's note: I had a similar experience of goal-setting a few years ago. I rode a bicycle from Arizona to North Carolina. I realized that if I was always thinking about the future arrival in North Carolina, I was stressed - because it was so far in the future. But if I enjoyed each day, and focused on the road before me, I was happy NOW. And eventually achieved the goal of reaching the mountains of Carolina through a succession of happy NOWs.)