What the undisciplined, puffed-up mind does: It projects the past onto the future. It remembers and anticipates, regrets and fears, blames and expects. None of this has anything to do with right now.
The present moment has its detractors. They are bored, fidgety, anxious. They would prefer a different moment. Of course, there is no other moment. This is it. The whole enchilada is right now.
The human personality is an edifice to the past. It is the conditioned self, the sum total of all of our experiences and of our reactions to those experiences. It’s why some of us are left-handed, others of us stutter, and why Glen Campbell did what he did while drinking like a fish and being unable to read a note of music. We haul this accumulation around with us. We think it is who we are, but it isn’t. It’s just mental and psychological stuff, a moldering pile of bellicosities and beliefs, of preferences and aversions, of memories and habits, of suspicions, traditions and worry patterns. It is good, now and then, to drop this congealment. To draw a breath. To see a bird without naming it.
Life is a near-entirety of ordinary moments. Can we inhabit an ordinary moment without pining for a less ordinary moment, filling it with content or using it as a means to a more stimulating moment?
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”
It’s not a building, the temple; it’s an ordinary moment.
Let us be resolute in our commitment to the present moment. And why, as a practical matter, should it be elsewhere? Life is not in the future, neither is it in the past.