Why Living in the Present is a Waste of your Time

I meditate.

I meditate everyday.

I meditate everyday because it teaches me to be mindful about the present moment.

The present moment

The sentence you are reading now, that is quickly receding into the past and that will (probably) continue into the future.

See, here you are, in the future.

That has now become your observed present moment.

Which just disappeared into your past.

But you’re still here in the present.

And that is life.

Over and over again.

The present moment that we experience through all our senses is where our living resides.

The here and now.

My meditation lessons tell me not to waste my time dwelling on the past or thinking too much about the future. The past has gone and the future has yet to occur.

Living a full life is about focusing on experiences in the now.

It’s such bullshit.

Well, it is and it is not.

Truthfully, there are many benefits to be drawn from meditation and from training yourself to focus on the present moment.

Meditation has been shown to strengthen your brain’s hippocampus, which means that meditation is very good at reducing stress, strengthening your emotional intelligence, improving memory retention and sharpening your overall mental focus.

This is why meditation is the best way to train yourself to be mindful about the present moment, because it strengthens your mental focus to ignore all the noise of past experiences and future speculations that so often worry and distract our minds from what is happening in the now.

When your mental focus can look beyond past warnings and future anxieties, you become very attentive to the vast amounts of information your senses are feeding your brain about the present moment.

My physical workout routines and the results I get from them have greatly improved since I took up meditation.

By being able to focus in on the present moment, I can really listen to my body and feel what my workout routines are doing to it. If you do yoga, then you know exactly what I am talking about here.

I am in touch with my body in a way that allows me to constantly reassess and readjust my performance to insure I get the best result from my workouts.

Thanks to my daily meditation, working out is no longer a chore, it is both therapeutic and thriving.

So that’s why focusing on the present moment is not bullshit.

But here is why it is…

Past. Present. Future.

Time is not that simple and neither is our perception of it.

How many times have you had a holiday that went too quickly or a week at work that dragged on into eternity?


And Time.

If ever there was subject that most perfectly illustrates time, then it is work, because our working lives occupy a huge amount of our time.

My career is something I have spent an awful long time figuring out.

I am a renaissance man and I have always found the idea of sacrificing my big picture interests to focus on one career route to be unsettling and a waste of my time.

If you’re good at something – in my case, operating from a big picture perspective – then it makes sense to make a successful career out of it.

So that is what I have been doing.

First, I built my own postgraduate education to sharpen my interests into specializations and then I spent some time working out how I was going to fit those specializations together into a successful career that works for me.

It has been a long process with many false starts, dead ends and meditation sessions.

But I got there eventually and I have identified my career direction.

This is where I am now… in my present moment.

But it is a present moment that is spread across my past and imagined throughout my future.

There is valuable information to be found in your past that you can then use with your present state to play projected situations, or career roles in this case, that you might occupy in your future.

I have had to go on many forays into my past to identify the types of activities and interests I have been most drawn to and that have engaged me most.

By examining these past experiences I have been able to gather data that has allowed me to build up a personal profile of myself and my strengths.

Using this profile, I was able to project myself into potential career roles that I could occupy. Then by playing those career roles out in imagined futures of my life I have been able to get an idea of how they would benefit or detract from my life.

One of the most common things I observed from my past is my inclination to explore new knowledge and to use that knowledge to improve myself.

But the more I looked into my past, the more I realised just how much I would get frustrated with people who had no respect for knowledge or how that knowledge could be used to improve their situations, or how they would give up improving their situation without really trying in the first place.

The conclusion I have drawn from this is that I am and have always been drawn to the area of people development. This can be seen in my freelancing Life Coaching and my own personal development is something I still practice today.

However, by realising my overriding affinity for people development and by playing out potential careers I could pursue down that route, I have been able to eliminate another potential career route that I now realise would have been a complete waste of my time – people management.

While people management is something I can do (I am doing it in my current job role) and it is something that comes quite naturally to me, I don’t have an overriding passion for it.

By looking at instances from my past, I can see that I am a reluctant people manager. I will do it if no one else is there to do, but if someone better comes along then I am more than happy to let them do it.

I have a real passion for people development because I can not help but do it, and people who know me have even said as much.

But my point is, our personal perception allows us to be very flexible with time and to experience it in a fluid state.

While I have been figuring out my career direction, I have been living my life in past, present and future states all at once… and I have been doing that for nearly six years now.

Granted, we are all always physically grounded in the space and time of our present moment, but intellectually we can expand those present moments with forays into previous, future and even sideways of being.

Sideways existences being alternate versions of yourself that could have existed in your present moment if events from your past had played out differently. And maybe those alternate versions of yourself do exist, no one can rule out entirely the possibilities that alternate universes exist.

But in the same way that imaging your future can give you information on what routes to pursue or to avoid in your present, you can also gain a lot of tips by looking sideways at how you could already be wasting your time or not using your nearly as effectively as you could be.

It’s all valuable life information that we should not shy away from

But there is more to it than just information gathering, these past, future and sideways selves are as much a part of ourselves as is our present state of being.

If anything, these past, future and sideways selves embellish our current state of being.

And this is my issue with living a life in which you focus solely on the present moment and what your senses are telling you about the space and time of the physical moment around you… that is not all that makes up your present moment.

The universe around us is made up of four dimensions – three spatial dimensions and one dimension of time – following that reasoning, we are four dimensional beings.

But I think we are more than that.

I think our conscious ability to peer back into past events, image future lives and speculate on sideways states quite clearly shows us to be more than four dimensional beings.

Our minds can transcend the forward momentum of time that our physical bodies are always slaves to.

If you’re thinking about a past, future or sideways state in the present moment then those states are as much a living part of your present moment as all the information your sense are giving you about the physical world around you.

Just by thinking about those other states you bring them to life because they are being recreated/created and sustained by the physical brain activity of a living being.

The last six years of my life have not been six years, it has been so much more than that!

Living in the present is a waste of your time because, at any moment in your life, it is not the only time you could be living in and it is not the only time that always lives within you.

Meditate on that.


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