The Urgency of the Moment
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." - Abraham Lincoln
Right now is the only moment you will ever have to do exactly what you need to do, at this time, in this place. If this circular logic keeps you wondering about the importance of Now, consider this: you have never experienced this moment before in your entire life, it is completely new and you are forever placed in an unfolding experience where change is the constant (dependent variable, for math geeks).
You may recognize this current point in time as a continuous stream of sensations similar to other times in your life. "It's Tuesday again", "Time for dinner", and "Good morning" are all recognitions of patterns in time, imposed by the human mind and nature to give structure and meaning and rhythm to our experience.
This is where it gets fascinating.
It's up to you to decide how to pay attention to this structure of life and how to break, change, learn, unlearn, and re-learn the rules. You can stay up all night for three days in a row, and eventually you will have to catch up on sleep. Breaking the rules is a double-edged sword: when you properly break the rules, you invite spontaneity, opportunity and change into an otherwise rhythmic and similar existence. Traveling is an example of breaking your "normal daily routine" and exposing you to new challenges so that you are more resilient to stress. The type of problem-solving skills that you learn from routine-breaking activities like travel enhance neuroplasticity (memory+learning) in the brain, essentially increasing your IQ.
"Learn the rules, so you know how to break them."
- Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso
The point of breaking the rules is to help you with two critical components of "being in the moment": (1) building confidence outside your comfort zone and (2) staying on your toes.
In music, we apply the rules of music theory to understand what makes euphonious (hypnotic melodic) and cacophonous (nails on a chalkboard) sound. To give an example, euphonious sounds are sweet, soothing and majestic like spring larks singing songs by a babbling brook; contrasted to cacophony which is jarring and chaotic, the way a freeway sounds at rush hour. Most of the time, given the option, people choose to be with the spring larks singing songs and not on the freeway. However, many of you may come across a freeway along your journey to where the spring larks are singing songs by a babbling brook. (1) By recognizing the cacophony (rule-breaking/apparent chaos) in our lives, (2) we begin to value the self-organizing patterns of nature that occur in these wildly uncontrolled situations, (3) which then helps us appreciate and apply our energy toward a steady state of euphony (rule-making/peace and harmony), regardless of our outward circumstances, we are headstrong.
To take the idea of rules a step further, you can change the rules of your own mind through psychedelic experiences. The ancient Greek root words Psyche- (mind) and -Delia (change) describe a state of openness to new possibilities beyond what you currently imagine. Psychedelic experiences include: visionary dreams, near-death experiences, religious epiphanies, mind-altering drugs and trancelike states (usually not all at once, but you never know). These psychedelic moments show us the "normal limits" of our mind, much like traveling and music, and allow us to see the world from a wildly different perspective beyond those self-imposed limits, which can carry over into our daily lives and help us appreciate the small things, from the first breath you take in the morning to the last thought you think as you drift into dream state.
A major value of being in the moment is experiencing complete joy and acceptance for who you are. Changing the way you think (breaking the rules) can help you get out of a rut and into a new state of self-understanding.
When you read this and think, "Yeah ok, that's great, I'm going to climb a tree now." That's when you change the rules. Our society needs more tree climbers. Learn for yourself what makes you different and be that, not only for the sake of being different, but because that's the only way you can honestly be a genuine human being.
This moment is a chance for you to take an active role in the miracle of being alive, beyond what you are doing, where you are going, and even why you are here. This lovely, challenging, heart-wrenching, confusing, defiant, accepting, glorious moment is here for you to experience all the time, and available for you at the cost of your attention to it.
This moment is the only one you will ever have, and it is urgently waiting for you to explore it.
About Peter Fettis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As a Registered Yoga Teacher and and Certified Personal Trainer, Peter practices optimizing human potential as a way of life. His latest book How to Eat Well and Love Yourself dives into the practical principles of mindfulness and plant-based nutrition to give you a taste of the abundant harvest from the mind's inner garden of awareness. Peter’s vision with H2O Human is to make waves in the current culture by rallying the wider public to recognize their inner healing power using a proactive, gentle approach.