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Why We Should Live In The Present? – Four Advantages Of Living In The Present

Four advantages of living in the present.

Being Active and Proactive - Present is the time for taking an initiative. We gain nothing by regretting over the past. We should accept what has happened and move. Says Swami Vivekananda, We are responsible for what we are; and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.

‘How to act’ starts from the present moment. So let us live in the present and not just act but have extra initiative to do what needs to be done. ‘A journey of thousand miles starts from a single step’, said the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. And that single step is always taken in the present moment.

Freedom from Anger, Greed and Anxiety – Being angry is to live in past and to be anxious is to live in future. One does not become angry with something that has not happened or become anxious about something which has happened. Anger is about past and anxiety is about future. We often fret and fume and let out all our energy and time in useless thinking and action. Instead of nursing our hurts and complaints in life, we should try to heal them and go forward in our life. Let us accept what comes and move on.

Bringing Excellence in all that we do – To be present in the present is to be undistracted in what one does and that is the secret of excellence. To bring our meditation or spiritual practices and our physical-mundane activities to the same level of worship and nobility, we need to live in the present. This means making working with concentration a habit in life. We should live a life of one-pointedness.

Being Cheerful – Naturally, when we live in the present, bereft of the thought of regret and worry, we live in a state of inner recollectedness. To be in the present moment is essentially to be in a state of introspection. We then become less reactive to the negative or unpleasant things that anyway are a part of life. This means to take life in its stride; a certain playful attitude towards life’s events, learning to see the lighter side of life. This is a sign of inner progress.

What if the present moment is far from being a source of cheers? Is painful and tragic! Can one be cheerful even then? Does not one become heartless then? Being in the Eternal Present is not to deny the reality one is now but in asserting and focussing on the Eternal Reality of our being, the deathless, painless, indestructible Atman within. Or being in the presence of the Eternal Lord of the Universe whose will we learn to accept and resign. This self-surrender is not a state of inaction but a state of self-responsibility and not of regret and pain-dwelling. It is dwelling on the God, and not on the world.


Somehow, some people wish to remain in the past. To them ‘giving up’ the past amounts to giving up something precious they cannot live without. To give up the past does not mean giving up the lessons that we learn from our mistakes or to give up the sense of fulfillment that our good actions bring to us. It simply means controlling the mind. Practice of living in the present is a form of Vairagya, avoiding all distractions and waywardness of mind.

Source - Vedanta Kesari March 2015 Editorial