Does ‘A Here & A Now’ exist?

If the past and future did not exist, we would live every day without any points of reference.

For each task there is an associated memory from the past or a task to be completed in the future.

So, do we really live in the present or are these only associations from the past?

I ponder deeply about this because every single time I smell mangoes, I am transported back to childhood, whenever I listen to eighties’ music, my high school days come to mind.

So where is the now in these moments?

Again, most things I do today are with tomorrow in mind. I plan this, I plan that.

So then, what is ‘the here and the now’, without these associations ? Lots of books on dealing with stress talk about letting go of the past and focussing on the present and not worrying about the future.

I know there is a difference between tasks to be completed in the future vs. worrying about the future; as also the difference between reminiscing about the past vs. allowing it to haunt your present.

But I am still left wondering if one can have a here and a now with no trappings of the past or the future.

Would love your views on this.

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16 thoughts on “Does ‘A Here & A Now’ exist?

  1. writerinsoul

    That is so interesting. I see what you’re saying. Maybe the past/present/future linear description we’re all told about how our lives work is wrong. Maybe instead of repeating things, we’re adding *layers* (or even stripping layers) from our lives and who we are.

    When I go to repeat a task, I’m not exactly the same as I was the last time I did the task, nor is the task exactly the same. There are subtleties and nuances that change both the task and me.

    When I try to think about escaping the past and future, I look at how animals do it. They are so immediate in their concerns. They don’t *reminisce* or worry about their futures. They live. I am not suggesting they have a better life – pretty sure I wouldn’t trade places with a squirrel or a dog! – but I can appreciate their immediacy, their attention to the present moment.

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    1. nimi naren Post author

      Wonderfully expressed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. ‘Linear’ as you say is probably only in our mind because it gives us a point of reference w.r.t the passage of time. Layering..that’s a cool way of looking at it – that there is a core around which we are growing or vice versa.

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  2. Sastha

    I go by these great words by Kalidas

    “Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
    Look to this Day!
    For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
    In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence.
    The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty;
    For Yesterday is but a Dream,
    And To-morrow is only a Vision;
    But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
    And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
    Look well therefore to this Day!
    Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!”

    – Kalidasa

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  3. katelon

    I believe we can live in the moment. And…I’m not against past connections or dreams for the future. I lived in a spiritual community, Lama Foundation, on the side of a mountain north of Taos, NM. One time I was walking across the meadow, stopped to look out at the Rio Grande Gorge and had no sense of where I’d just come from or where I was going…just the moment. I can walk along the beach and after awhile, just be there with the sounds of the ocean and the feel of the sand, without comparing it to times in the past. Same with playing music. Even just getting into bed when I’ve just washed my sheets, and stopping to feel them against my skin, and be completely in that moment.

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  4. Sash

    Nice write up the present moment. Sri Sri Ravishankar says “Past is destiny, future is free will, recognise this and live in the present moment”. You cannot completely let go of the past or not be concerned about the future. Being too attached to the past or too worried/planning for the future inhibits us from living the present moment, which is the most precious one. Regular meditation helps a lot.

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  5. Heather

    I think a life purely in the present with no past and no future is possible, but probably not with an intact brain. Associations with the past are I think what typically make deep relationships possible, and I see nothing wrong with some planning and intention for the future. But I think we tend to overemphasize both. My experience of animals leads me to believe they have quite strong associations with past experience. But I do suspect they don’t spend much energy worrying about the future like we tend to do.

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    1. nimi naren Post author

      We overdo on clinging to the past and worrying about the future, but if we choose our past experiences as key learnings on how to lead our lives and stop worrying about the future, we would have struck the right balance. Love your point about the animals. Thank you for reading and sharing your views.

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  6. andeepak

    You are what you are b’cos of your past. Its easy to say live in the present. I am usually in the past or looking at the future. Its a struggle to be full in your present and that’s what they call mindfulness may be.

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  7. jacki perrette

    I think our present moments have various purposes. Remembering what has already happened is how we know what will work in our present. Planning for the future is the way we take care of ourselves. It informs our decisions about what to do in the present. Some of the present is for learning and for planning and some of the present is just for experiencing – like reading, or spending time with others or creating art or prose or successful relationships. We can strive to live in the moment, but we need them all – the past, the present and the future – to live fully.

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