I have been suffering through the effects of a cold or something: coughing, stuffy nose, mild headache, low-grade fever. I don’t much like being sick and since I have had a run of almost a year without a cold, fever or anything more than an upset stomach from eating too much of the wrong stuff, being sick now seems even worse. So, I am sitting here at the computer, hacking my lungs out, feeling feverish and using up large amounts of tissues. I am very aware of not feeling good.
So, does that awareness of what I am feeling right now mean that I am truly living in the now? I would much rather not be living in this particular “now”. I much prefer the now that will come in a few days when the hacking, fever and headache will be gone. The now of a few days before the whole things started isn’t a bad second choice. Unfortunately, I am stuck here, tied to the now by the tissue box, the thermometer and social stigma that would be focused on me if I went to a public place broadcasting my whatever this is.
But even when I am not sick, I am not sure how much I live fully in the now. Since some of my now is determined by the past, things that generally need to be dealt with in some way, and by the need to do certain things to be ready for tomorrow, a lot of my now time is spent looking back or looking ahead.
I suppose that I could get myself into a mental and spiritual state where all I can see and focus on is the now. I could detach from the past and shut off the future–but then, I wouldn’t be able to write this post, since I work a week ahead on my blog. I would have to focus totally on how miserable I feel. True, I could enjoy looking out the living room window at the trees and tidal flats and the lawn which doesn’t need mowing right now. I could focus on the ever-present pain in my knee which is reminding me it is time to move it a bit to relieve the pain.
But I already do that stuff, along with lots of other in the now stuff. Since I am on dog duty, I am always listening to make sure that he isn’t getting in trouble outside. I am continually scanning the tree line looking for the deer. I am aware of the vague idea flitting around in my mind that may become a sermon idea or blog post at some point but which right now is too vague and flighty to do more than notice.
I live in the now–but I also live as a result of the past and in anticipation of the future. The issue for me, I think, is to keep a proper balance. Too much focus on the pain and difficulty and triumph of the past takes me to places where I have already been and probably stops me from going where I need to go–I begin to be like some counselling clients who can only see the pain of the past. Too much focus on tomorrow likely means I am trying to live in an imaginary land where everything is perfect and I don’t have to deal with yesterday or today–again, like some counselling clients whose future is rosy and perfect and completely unrealistic. And of course, too much focus on today means that I have no idea why I am ignoring a specific person and will likely retire at 110 because I don’t have a pension.
As in so much of life, the balance is the issue. I am affected by yesterday, I am affecting tomorrow–and I do it all from today. I stand (well, sit actually) in the here and now, looking both ahead and back to see how the here and now is affected by yesterday and what potential affect it might have on tomorrow. I can enhance the here and now by how I deal with yesterday–and I can probably enhance tomorrow by how I deal with today.
So, I will be aware of my hacking and fever while looking ahead to the day when I won’t have this illness, giving thanks that the past tells me that I will recover. I am aware of the here and now but am not sure that I am totally enjoying parts of this particular here and now.
May the peace of God be with you.