Q. What does ‘living in the present moment without living in the future or in the past’ mean? Is it the same as what Zen meditation pursues?
A. Don’t be deluded by a likely story. Who on earth can live in the past? If it were possible to live in the past, many old people would return to their past and enjoy their youth. If we could live in the future, many of us would visit the future and fix, or solve the problems that will happen in advance. If these things were possible, why wouldn’t we do them?
In fact, no one can do this. If you happen to try not to live in the future, or in the past, you are losing time making a futile effort. Even though you are suffering from the regret of your past, you are suffering in the present moment. Even if you spend time worrying about the future, it is in the present moment that you have a hard time worrying. No matter how hard you may struggle, you cannot escape the present moment.
What they mean is that you should pay all your attention to what you are doing at the moment without wasting your attention regretting the mistakes, or errors of your past, because they can’t be undone whatever you may do. Similarly, you should not worry about the future that is yet to come. To make a long story short, it means that you should pay all your attention just to what you are doing when you are doing something.
What Zen meditation pursues is to realise that time is just imaginary lines, not real and that there is no past, no present and no future and that you are eternity itself.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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