Do you want to live more in the present and improve your life? Living constantly in the here and now is a goal that many people try to achieve, but few succeed. To reach the top of a mountain, it is advisable to know the road, but it is also important to know the difficulties encountered during the journey. One of these is the so-called psychological time.
How to live in the present?
Without knowing this concept, you will probably be the victim of your mind, which will constantly carry you between past and future. If you know it, however, your path becomes slightly easier. In this article, I will explain to you what psychological time is, how it affects the mind and why it is necessary to avoid it taking over to live the present moment more. Enjoy the reading!
Time is the dimension in which the passing of events is conceived and measured. It induces the distinction between past, present, and future. Everyone knows what time is, but few know that there are two types of time: chronological time and psychological time.
The first concerns the objective part of the time, that is, the counting of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc… while the second concerns the perception of time, and this changes from person to person. If you want to live in the present moment, you must memorize these concepts because they have an incredible impact on your life. Let’s go and see why.
Chronological time as a function of the present
Chronological time is experienced every time you make an appointment, plan something or perhaps set yourself a goal to achieve. It is important to make full use of this type of time, in life, but it must always depend on the present moment. I’ll explain.
If you plan a goal and then use every moment to achieve it, you are using the chronological time to live. The same thing happens, for example, when in life you learn from your past so as not to make the same mistakes again in the present.
Using chronological time as a function of the present remains a fundamental factor in fully experiencing the here and now. It usually happens that the mind is continuously in the past, perhaps continuing to always think about the mistakes made, or in the future, perhaps thinking of being happier when a certain goal has been achieved. When this happens, one is a slave to psychological time.
The psychological time
As already mentioned, psychological time arises whenever your mind is in the past or the future. This happens, for example, when you constantly live with remorse, not accepting the past, or maybe when you live constantly thinking about the future. Unfortunately, when this happens, you lose the opportunity to experience the only moment that matters, the present.
When you constantly live in psychological time, currently very common problems such as stress, anxiety, fear, depression, etc. These disorders do not exist in the here and now, but only in the past or future.
The importance of now
The following story, taken from 101 Zen stories, in my opinion, can make you reflect on how important it is to live in the present moment:
A man walking through a field encountered a tiger. He began to run away, with the beast at his ribs. Arriving at a precipice, he grabbed the root of a wild creeper and threw himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed it from above.
Trembling, the man looked down, where far below, another tiger was waiting to devour him. Only the creeper supported him. Two mice, one white and one black, gradually began to gnaw on the vine.
The man saw a succulent strawberry near him. Holding the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other and exclaimed: “How sweet!”
Cultivating the here and now
To improve your life and live more in the present, you must use chronological time only to plan for the future and learn from the past.
Once this is done, however, you should immediately return your mind to the here and now. Don’t let the mind take over and build castles in the air about your past or future.
Whenever you realize that your mind is not in the present, all you have to do is contact something tangible that brings it back to the moment. You can use a sensation of the body, your breath, or a sound. In short, anything that allows you to focus on the here and now.
Of course, saying this is easy, but when it comes to putting it into practice, I know how difficult it is. Controlling the mind is truly a feat and it takes a lot of time and practice to do so.
Awareness to live in the present
I told you that to live in the present, all you have to do is realize when the mind goes away and bring it back to the here and now. However, this is impossible if you are not aware of your mind. The truth is, if you don’t learn to be self-aware, you will be continually a slave to psychological time.
But what is meant by awareness?
This term refers to an alert state of mind that allows you to observe the flow of experience, moment by moment. Did I get it? Instant after instant.
If you are aware, you can fully live the present and time turns into what it is, a succession of moments. If you are aware, your mind is focused on the present moment instead of jumping continuously between past and future. If you are aware, you can realize when a negative thought arises and let it go. When all this happens, psychological time disappears and you are free from it.
How do you go about developing awareness?
Let’s go find out. In my opinion, the best way to develop awareness is to practice yoga or meditation. Both would be the best. Of course, there are other routes, but I know this one and it is the one I recommend with all my heart. I have been practicing asanas and meditating for years now and I can assure you that my awareness has grown tremendously.
This is because when you practice, you are doing nothing but strengthening the awareness of your body, your breathing, and your mind. Furthermore, the practice leads you to live the present moment intensely.
Of course, this has a huge impact on how aware you are throughout your life. Practicing on the yoga mat or meditation cushion can be considered a life workout. The more you practice, the more you become aware of yourself. The more you are aware, the more you will be able to fight psychological time by being with your mind more and more in the present.
To live in the present, you must do everything, not live in psychological time because it is only created by the mind when it goes into the past or the future. To achieve this, however, you must develop greater awareness, which will allow you to realize when your mind goes behind some thought or maybe some idea.