How wonderful to see that living in the now is becoming popular even in comic strips!
As Prince Valiant sails with his family towards the Misty Isles, everyone is troubled by the appearance of ravens and a sounding whale – both seen as ill omens. But Prince Valiant remembers to come into the present moment and ‘speaks calmly to the growing tension: “Listen – I say the future is unborn, the past is dead and gone, and the future holds no claim on us. There is only the here and now, and we are masters of this moment!”‘ Sunday Times
The poet Coleridge said something very similar in Khubla Kahn:
“Dead yesterday, unborn tomorrow, why fret about them if today be sweet?” Frequently interpreted as careless and hedonistic (and written under the influence of opium!) Coleridge is in fact describing the secret of true happiness. When yesterday happened, it was the present, when tomorrow happens it will be the present. The present moment, the now, is the only reality.
Whether ‘we are masters of this moment’ at all times (Prince Valiant) may be open to dispute, but certainly when we are fully in the present we are more likely to respond to the needs of the moment and act appropriately, than when we are trapped in baggage from the past and can only react. Daniel, father of three, who came on my course, describes how anxieties about the future take him out of the moment and into his head.
“I often find myself worrying about what will happen if I lose my job. How will I provide for my children? I want them to be healthy and have a good education. The silly thing is that I know I’m less likely to be fired if I do a good job, and yet all this anxiety distracts me from what I’m doing and makes me more tired and irritable when I get home. I feel guilty about not being patient with my wife and children – it’s an endless cycle.” (Chapter 1: Awareness: ‘Living in the Now’ by Jill Jacques ebook on Amazon)
Prince Valiant’s advice would be apt. The past and future hold no claim on us unless we let it, and there is only the here and now.
Remember to kind and gentle with yourself.