Episode 21: On Being in the Present Moment... Or Not - Transcript

You’re listening to Art of the Unknown, the podcast about traveling inwards, outwards and onwards. 

Hey guys and welcome back to the show and you are listening to episode number 21 and I am your host Sarah Kreuz. In this week’s episode, I want to talk about traveling and being in the present moment. So I have been on the road now for about four months and one of the things that I think traveling really teaches you is not only not only how to be in the present moment but it can help expose you to times or habits or situations when you allow yourself to leave the present moment and to let your mind to wander to the future or the past or basically to anywhere where you currently are not. I am sure I am not the only one that this happens to. I have noticed that either when I am traveling or planning to go somewhere or pretty much doing anything that is planned and it’s in the future, I spend a lot of time thinking about what it’s going to be like when I get there and ultimately just being there. I find out that even though I spend all this time thinking about what it is going to be like when I get there I find that once I get it’s almost as if my mind automatically leaves and it’s looking for the next place or what’s going to happen tomorrow or where we are going to go next or anything that is again being projected into the future.  I am finding that this happens to me a lot. 

I am really trying to be aware of my thoughts and be aware of my thought process. I am seeing a habit that no matter where I go to or where I get to, it’s almost as though it doesn’t hold my attention long enough to fully enjoy it. For some reason, my mind has to automatically start thinking about the future or the next place or the next location. I am seeing this pattern and I am really starting to aware that I don’t live in this present moment much as I thought I did and constantly being on the move and traveling the way that I do, I am finding it very easy to be exposed to how often I project things into the future. A lot is changing so it just gives my mind a lot of opportunities to constantly going to the future and think about the future and ultimately live in the future and if my mind is constantly there it can’t be in the present moment and if you are not in the present moment then where are you?  

The present moment is ultimately the only moment that truly actually exist.  The past and the future are just concepts in our minds and the present is only that point between the two that is actually happening. So if we are not in the present moment then we are allowing our mind to be in someplace else and ultimately some place that is not where we want to be. So one intention for this trip is to really be opened to the universe and let my traveling teach me something and expose me to either things that I need to learn or ways that I need to heal myself and the part of me that is becoming exposed recently is my relationship with my present moment and this is being brought to my attention more recently and I really started to noticed it in the past week. Last week I took a trip to England and I was there for a week with two of my good friends and even though I had a really good time, I found that I wasn’t quite all there mentally. It was almost as though my mind was constantly somewhere else that was the future. I wasn’t even trying to do this but I find out that my mind was constantly running to some place other than where I was at and it was constantly finding something to worry about. Before I got there, I really wanted to not worry about anything and just really enjoy my time with my friends and really just focus on the moments but as soon as I landed, I found that there was always something in my mind to worry about, there was always something that for some reason in my mind needed my attention or needed me to worry about far more than where I was at. This pattern persisted in the whole entire trip, I think it was justa way for me to become exposed to how my mind actually lives and how it’s constantly doing this and how it’s constantly trying to worry about the future or be sad about the past and I think that this trip toEngland really helped exposed me to how my mind is constantly functioning without me being aware of it because my mind was constantly focused on the future. 

It was almost as if I had left England as soon as I got there. I found that no matter where we ended up, my mind will always run to what would happen next or what we would do tomorrow or even worry about things that are five years down the line. Ultimately it was constantly wandering to anywhere else beside where I was at. Being aware of this is really showing me that what is the point of experiencing this world, or being with the people that you love if you can’t truly enjoy while you are doing it.  This trip has showed me that I don’t live in the present moment, I am constantly either living in the past or in the future and I have a hard time really, truly one hundred percent being present. I knew that I did that but more recently am I really becoming aware of how severely I avoid the present moment. I know we hear a lot about being in the present moment and living in the present moment and whatever else the hippies are saying. I know that the present moment is something that we tend to want to strive for but at this point in my whatever you want to call it, spiritual evolution, I am realizing that I know a lot more about living in the future or living in the pastthan I do about actually living in the present moment.  If I can’t even define the present moment or really truly explain what it is, I have a hard time doing so and that’s because I am not there that often, I am not in the present moment often enough to really understand fully what if feels like because even when I am trying to be in the present moment, even when I am trying to meditate or really trying to embrace the moment 100%, I still find out that my mind is either in the past or in the future. Understanding the present moment I guess it’s something that is difficult for me because I haven’t learned how to fully embrace it. I think there is a few reasons that might explain why I cant 100% fully live in the present moment and I will get into those in a little bit. But for right now even though traveling is showing me how much in the moment I am not, I also really believe that traveling is also a means to help get you into the present moment. Yes, there are things that we can do to help us reach that point like meditate or different forms of exercise or arts.  There are a lot of things that could help pull you into the present moment and definitely those things are great but I think traveling offers a different and more unique experience of being put into the present moment because it is done so almost very naturally. The reason for this is because when you are traveling you are at a new place or in a new occasion or you are seeing something for the first time, that’s when you are automatically pulled into the present moment because it requires all of your attention. I am finding that while traveling is a way that am pulled into the present moment, I am finding that recently my mind can be in the present moment and then escape it almost in the same seconds. It’s almost as though I am living in the present, it can leave just as quickly and for me it seems a though it’s kind of happening at the exact same time.  

Like the same moment I am appreciating where I am at or I am seeing the beauty in something or I am trying a food for the first time, it’s almost as though as it is happening, I am also worrying about the future and how I feel or anything elsethat is there to worry about. It’s almost as though my mind is trying to run away from the moment and trying to be anywhere else and trying to just leave where I am at. It has its reasons I think. I think that when you are trying to live in a moment and trying to be at present, it takes a little bit of effort because I feel like in a way, the mind id trying to leave who you are and it’s trying to distract you from what is actually happening.  I think for part of the reasons that I am becoming so distracted from the moment and from really understanding where I am at and being there 100% is because in a way I feel like I don’t deserve to be in the present moment.  It’s almost as though I have so many other things to worry about and so many other things that I can be doing or preparing for or figuring out or anything that it’s like I don’t have time to be in the present moment and I don’t deserve to be in the present moment because there is things that I haven’t done, there is things that I haven’t accomplished, there is things that I still need to do, there is things that I still need to be better at before I can actually sit back and enjoy where I am at.  

Part of me feels that I can’t be in the present moment because ultimately there is something else that I could be doing or could be putting my attention on or could be worrying about and that who I am right now and how I am showing up to the present moment isn’t enough and I that I need to fix something or change something or do something before I can fully and completely be in the moment. I am finding that happens to me more often than I think it should and why it’s not the only reason that my mind wanders, I definitely thinks that it is part of the reason and it’s becoming exposed to me the more that I am becoming more aware of my thoughts and the more that I am becoming aware of how I avoid living in the present and where my mind is actually running to. While the mind can always make up something that you could be doing or that you should be doing or that you are not doing it, therefore you are not good enough for something, whatever it is. The mind could always be making up reasons why you shouldn’t be here and you should be doing something else and that’s exhausting and that’s never going to end. 

I think that part of the lessons to be learned here is that in order to live in the present moment, we have to realize all of these thoughts are going to come. These thoughts about who we should be and what we should do or anything that is going to be surrounding us and in a way it’s kind of like we have to get through them, not get through them but we kind of have to ignore them in order for us to be completely in the present moment because you can keep on trying to grab on to a thought or keep on trying to chase a thought or whatever. You may hold on to that thought, you may believe that thought, that thought will run its course but no matter what, there is always going to be more thoughts that will try to take you away from your present moments. So I think that in order to completely be present, we are going to have to really not believe everything we think or not give our thoughts the attention that we think they deserve.  Because even right now I can be making up reasons why I shouldn’t be doing this right now or I could be doing something else or I could be doing something better. All of those thoughts are taking me away from actually focusing on where I am right now and really letting everything happen as it should. I think that’s part of the reason for meditation is because of these zen masters and all of these Buddhas or whoever, I think that they obviously had an idea of what the mind is and what the mind does. That’s why meditation is such a widely used practice for getting back to the present moment because it helps detach you from your thoughts; it helps detach you from the things that are trying to pull you away from the present moment and the things that are ultimately trying to distract you. You know what thoughts do an excellent job at distracting you. Sometimes I feel like I am going crazy because of how quickly and how freaking rapidly my thoughts move through my head. It’s almost as though I can’t catch up.  It’s almost as though if I try to understand every single thought and I if I try to act on every single thought, I am freaking running around with my head cut off, it’s too much and that point is when I feel like I am going crazy because I have so many thoughts that I can’t grab on to when I feel like I need to.  I think one of the benefits that I am receiving from meditation is that I am able to kind of just see those thoughts and not just try to grab on to them. I can kind of see those thoughts from a distance and realize that they are there and understand that they exist but I don’t have to believe them, I don’t have to act on them, I don’t have to give them the attention that they want because if I try to give all of these thoughts equal attention or time or anything, that’s when I start to feel like I am going crazy because it’s just too much. There is too much happening in my head to attend to all of it and that’s when I feel like I leave the present moment because there are so many things that I could be doing or worrying about or need to do. So, being in the present moment is I think is when we are able to be kind of release the need to give in to all of these thoughts and you actually see what is happening right here and now as oppose to projecting something into the future or trying to solve a problem that doesn’tyet exist. Traveling and doing these trips and living life here on the road is really showing me how much I project things into the future and it’s not just when I travel, it is in every part of my life. It’s almost as though no matter what I do, there is always something more that I feel like I could be doing and that is when my mind starts moving to the future, that’s when it starts to leave the present moment because it’s kind of almost as though it’s making a problem that don’t exist yet but even though they don’t exist I still want to solve them. 

That is when the mind is moving from the present to the future because it’s trying to solve all these problems that I created that live in the future that don’t even exist yet. When you do that, no matter where you are, what you are doing basically what’s happening is that you are losing the present moment to the future. You are losing where you are because you are constantly worrying about something that is going to happen, that hasn’t happen or that will never happen. When you constantly are living in the future, you are giving up the ability to be in the present moment and to actually truly be happy. Because in order to be happy you have to be here, you have to be in the moment because that is the only thing that is actually true and that is the only thing that is currently happening. If you are either projecting happiness into the future or waiting for happiness or doing anything to avoid being in the moment, you are never going to be happy because happiness doesn’t exist in the future because the future does not exist. Happiness can only be found here because that is really the only place that you are ever going to be, is where you are right now.  If you keep on running away from it or avoiding it or doing anything then how do you expect to actually be happy? That’s what I found out that I am doing. I am constantly living in the future and by doing so I can’t be happy. I am not finding happiness, I am not where Ineed to be and by realizing that I put my mind somewhere elseI think that’s the first step in actually trying to be where I am at and to find happiness in the moment. I think you can only really honestly and truly live in the present moment if you are not resisting it, if you are not trying to avoid it and if you are not trying to make up reasons why the future is going to be better or makeup reasons why the past was better. 

 I think that you can only really be in the present moment by accepting that is the only moment that we have. After accepting it, the next logical thing to do is then to try to make the best out of it because you can’t keep running from the present moment because you are not going to get anywhere because there is nowhere else to go and I am finding that when I constantly project things into the future, I am living in a state of mind that isn’t anything, it’s not anywhere. The only thing that it is doing is really preventing me from enjoying the moment and in some ways that’s when I feel like I am losing out on the present moment when Iconstantly worry about the future. Because that’s my point with my example from England is that Ifelt that as soon as I got there, I was constantly worrying aboutthe future and if I worry about the future I couldn’t be in the moment andlooking back I feel like I wasn’t actually there becausemy mind wasn’t there yes my body was there but my mindwas constantly being thrown into the future and by doing so I lost the chance to fully be in the present moment. I feel like that’s a great lesson that I needed to learn and I feel like I need to focus more on the present moment in order to actually be where I am at because I am not going to be anywhere else besides where I am at, it’s not just physically possible. So my mind does a lot of things in order to avoid being in the present moment and running to the future or worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet or even day dreaming or fantasizing about what is going on and happening and what is going to come into my life. Those are definitely ways that I distract myself from the present moment in order to I want to say solve problems that don’t exist yet or find happiness somewhere other than where I am currently at and those are ways that my mind moves from the present to the future. What it also does is it move from the present moment to the past and I think that living in the past is a little bit different of a mindset than living in the future and I think that we are running either to the future or the past for the same reason and that’s to avoid being in the present moment but why are we avoiding the present moment that’s a little bit different, it depends on where you are running to. 

I think we all can maybe understand the reasons why we are running to the future but I think it’s also important to understand why we are running towards the past and for me a lot of it has to do with the fact that I still haven’t let go of what has happened in the past. It could be a lot of things, it could be good things, and it could be bad things or whatever. Like I mentioned in episode 14 upwards from past and pains, If you guys want to check that out, I talked about ways in which I am still holding on to pain in the past. I think that we are kind of drawn to the past because we are holding on to something that we can’t let go of completely and why that episode that I just referred to talked a lot about holding on to the things that are painful, we can also hold on to memories that we really enjoyed or loved or anything because we at still fundamentally unable to let go of that attachment that we have on to things that are either good or bad. I am not going to go into much details about this because I feel I already talked about it a little bit in episode 14 but I do tend to hang on to things that have hurt just like I am sure a lot of other people do. I think that I hold on to them because I haven’t fully accepted that they have happened. I haven’t fully accepted the fact that it’s done, it’s over and it’s time to move on and I think I do so because in a way my mind hasn’t fully been able to justify what happened or accept it or to just let it be. I think that I hold on to it a lot to it longer than I do is because I am trying to in a way makeup reasons why it could not have happened or it should not have happened. If I can’t justify an event that has happened in the past then in some weird way I don’t believe it and I have to keep on telling myself of a story or an excuse as to why it happened before I can fully believe it and ultimately move on from it. 

By holding on to this events in the past or my interpretation of the past or this stories that I created about my past, by doing all of that I am moving my attention from the present moment to the past and that’s again taking away any potential happiness that I have to experience in the present moment because I am giving it up in order to relieve the past or to justifythe past or to make up some excuse why the past is the waythat it is and by doing so that is again getting away from being in the present moment completely. So even if I am projecting something into the future or hanging on to something that happened in the past, either way, what I am basically doing is just making up an excuse as to why I can’t be one hundred percent present in the right moment, right here and right now and yes there is definitely a balance between letting go and moving forward and I am still trying to find that balance and I know that balance lives in the present moment. I am just becoming aware of how difficult it is for me to actually be in the presentmoment and I am really learning that my mind wonders very easilyand very quickly and very far from where I am actually at right now andI think that just becoming aware of how often my mind does this is what I need to learn and what I need to be exposed to andI think thatthis past week of traveling and seeing myself in a different light has really began to exposeme to how mymind is actually functioning and where it’s going and where it is and why. So being in the present moment, being here, being now is something that I think I we should all kind of strive to do but it’s obviously very difficult, this is not something that comes easily to anyone I don’t think so unless maybe you are Buddha. 

I think I am done being in this particular moment right here, right now. I want to say thank you for listening to this episode I am a little sick if you haven’t noticed in my voice, so thank you for listening. I appreciate it; I appreciate the support, shout out to Briski, I love you and thank you for listening. Again if anyone wants to check out my website or email me or whatever, my website is artoftheunknownpodcast.com. You can find me there, you can find me on Instagram and yes thank you again for listening, and I am out.

Recorded: Las Palmas, Spain 

Released: February 20, 2017