Live in the moment


Time is the non-renewable and precious entity sought after by every living creature. Misunderstanding and ignorance leads individuals to misuse time, and leave them bargaining to the gods, or in search of myths like the fountain of youth.

Many are plagued by the mindset that the present is a mere reflection of the past, or a catalyst for the future. We seem to fall victim to the unapologetic quickness of life, thus losing sight of the value of time.  

We are judged more by what we do, rather than who we are. We emphasize our achievements over our  affiliations, feeding the mindset that “time is money.”

However, it is not only the Western world’s individuals who think in this fashion. All human brains are wired to facilitate and record the past, present and future.

Our brain is broken up into two halves – the left and right hemispheres. The left hemisphere controls the past and future. By absorbing all the details of the present, it associates the present information to the past and projects it into the future.

The right hemisphere in turn revolves around the present – the here and now. This side of the hemisphere is seemingly neglected, and forces adolescents to post quotes on social media like, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

Rather corny and childish, but this witticism does hold one truth – the present must be cherished, as in just a blip, it becomes the past.

So what exactly is time? It might  seem like a silly question, but if we understand what time truly is, we could gain the insight necessary to end the vicious cycle of lost time, feelings of nostalgia and desires to evade the present in order to move toward the future.

Time itself cannot be perceived – rather, the changes and events in time are used to measure our sense of duration.

In his autobiography “Confessions,”  St. Augustine of Hippo wrote that we measure the deviation of an event in our memory, so the past and future exist only in the mind. In addition, we are only here through our consciousness of our right hemisphere.

This idea is perfectly illustrated through the real-life experience of  Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who suffered from a stroke to her left hemisphere. Taylor spoke about how her loss of self-orientation and all past and future memories gave her an overwhelming sense of euphoria and peace. Taylor no longer beared the weight of past emotional baggage, and  lost all feelings of stress.

The point being, if we were to all  mentally go to that same state as Taylor – that is, present oriented – we would all be forced to enjoy the moments of the “now.” Every moment would be a new experience, evoking a profound reality for the individual.

The Taoists believe that we should move with the flow and rhythm of life, and so time is seen as insignificant to them. In comparison to the Western world’s view that every minute of the day should be spent to nurture the growth of our  future and fortune, Taoism stresses for its adherents to value their present being.

As students, we too, more often than not, complain about how badly we want to leave high school and go to college. Then, when we reach college, we will find ourselves wanting to go out into the real world and pursue our dream job.

Forever seeing our present state as a burden, we become so future oriented that we miss out on the beautiful happenings of the present.

Use the past as knowledge, and let the present pave the future.