At www.brianharke.com you can read that “being present is one of the greatest skill sets you can master. If you read about or follow any of the great leaders in life and business, you will find that their ability to be present and focus on matters at hand has led to their success. In the short term, being present will help you to do your work better , to develop better relationships, to make great first impressions and people develop your professional. In the long term, mastering the ability to remain present could help you be more focused, successful, and even healthy”
And no discussion about the value of being present. The absent is always wrong and the absent minded are as well dangerous.
The ones acting without thinking and without being conscious miss the best of life and are often obstacles and hazards to all of us.
There is a difference between being present and ” living the now”.
Living the “now” could be just a good, fashionable suggestion from New Wave people anxious to tell you to do what they could not… and anxious to sell products on the idea. (“living the now” returns 4 followed by 9 zeros results in Google search)
“Carpe Diem”, the idea of forgetting the past and not worrying about the future may sound inviting nevertheless it requires, in my opinion, a momentary and voluntary disconnection with the brain.
Mr.Ulrich Tolle (self-rechristened Eckhart presumably after 13th century Christian mystic Meister Eckhart) became a vagrant mystic for a period spending time in park benches without too much thinking. Eventually became a spiritual teacher, author and talk-show guest with extraordinary success coming mostly from his book “The Power of now” Mr. Tolle himself recognises that in order to “live the now” human has to reduce thinking, if not stop it tout court.
Even if we live in the moment, we cannot stop thinking. Maybe not good quality thoughts but… cogito ergo sum and without thinking I am not.
Most of the thinking is dedicated, in my experience, to understand the moment in order to anticipate what will happen after the now.
As it happens quite often, motorcycling is a good lab, a fertile ground, to test the theory of “living the Now”.
I went out just few days ago on a (for me) new bike ; one if the disappearing dinosaurs of super fast, super agile and super fun Sport Bike.
These are “good teachers” bike demanding all your attention and rewarding your dedication with joy and permission not-to-die. An intense experience when a moment of distraction can transform the current Now into the last Now.
Not easy, nor natural, to ride at good speed and try to live the “now”, meaning where you were 1 second ago, 50 meters behind your bike, running toward what you did not anticipate. We are not designed for the now but for the “then”, we do not deal with the moment but with the anticipation of the moment to come. We live in the future, we project ahead, we try to think of what will happen if.
We anticipate and, depending on what we anticipate, biking can be associated with Joy or with Fear. Anticipation, prospection, lookinh ahead make us experience pleasures, satisfactions, fears and anxieties.
MARTIN E. P. SELIGMAN and JOHN TIERNEY, (nytimes.com) in May 19, 2017 wrotw an illuminating article titled “We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment” and more time I spend on the saddle the more I find some of their considerations (supported by researches) inspiring and guiding.
“We are misnamed. We call ourselves Homo sapiens, the “wise man,” but that’s more of a boast than a description. What makes us wise? … What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created civilisation and sustains society…
A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus, because we thrive by considering our prospects. The power of prospection is what makes us wise. Looking into the future, consciously and unconsciously, is a central function of our large brain, as psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered — rather belatedly, because for the past century most researchers have assumed that we’re prisoners of the past and the present…
Our emotions are less reactions to the present than guides to future behaviour. Therapists are exploring new ways to treat depression now that they see it as primarily not because of past traumas and present stresses but because of skewed visions of what lies ahead… Even when you’re relaxing, your brain is continually recombining information to imagine the future.”
And this is quite evident when dealing with speed, time&space. While conscious of the present, while collecting, in the present, all possible information, while acquiring knowledge of the now… our mind move instantly to what is going to happen “then”. Only the anticipation of the future, only the prospection ahead keep us positively moving.
“Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” (Jorge Luis Borges)