Why does the present moment appear to be so short-lived?

Overcoming obstacles to being in the present

Photo by Jase Ess on Unsplash

The present moment isn’t chronological time in the sense of looking at a clock or a calendar.

The present moment happens when we break away from the world of interpretations we create in our minds.

When we are not interpreting thoughts and experiences, awareness disengages from the mind. When awareness is free from the past and the future, it becomes present. In the beginning, this cessation of mental interpretations happens for a limited period. Consequently, the experience of the present moment is shortlived. It takes conscious effort to refrain from interpreting thoughts and experiences.

When awareness is free from the past and the future, it becomes present.

A more lasting experience of the present may be challenging to achieve unless our awareness can retreat entirely from the mind. The underlying design of meditational, mindfulness, and other such practices is to gain complete control of awareness and hence, stay in the present. However, there are practical difficulties. When we try to concentrate in a quiet environment, there appears to be a sudden surge in thought activity, and the habit of interpretation goes into overdrive. It can overwhelm the practitioner.

Retreating from interpreting thoughts and experiences is a gradual process

When we consciously interpret thoughts and experiences and make deliberate use of them for some purpose, we continue to remain in the present. The critical differentiator is ‘being conscious’ as we use the mind. The mind need not wholly disappear as long as we can continue as a witness and not engage in interpretations of thoughts and experiences.

Unless awareness separates from the mind, we cannot be in the present.

There are some obstacles between going from an idea of the present moment to experience. When we become aware of some of the fundamental mechanisms of the mind, it will help foster an understanding of the mind.

What gives the mind such power over our awareness that we cannot separate the two?

There are two central ideas around which all mental processes occur. One is the idea of happiness and its counterpart fear. The other is the idea that ‘I am this or that.’ These ideas give context and meaning and are the foundations of every thought. From these basic ideas, the mind springs a trap. When we identify with the contents of any thought, we fall into the habit of interpretation of thoughts.

Physician I Poet I Transformational Philosophy - Free awareness and its power to transform. www.intoawareness.org. Learn more- amazon.com/author/seshadri

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store