Our minds usually do not stay in the present moment. Often we think about what happened in the past or the future. In reality we only have this present moment in our hands. It is like money in our hands. We can choose to spend it wisely with discrimination or spend it carelessly.
Often the sadness, pain and the guilty feelings of the past make us restless. One can say that thinking about the past is like holding tightly to a rotten dead body.
When we always think about the future, what we really lose is the peace and serenity in the present. A man lying next to a poisonous snake's habitat will never get a wink of sleep due to his fear. Similarly, due to fear and anxiety over the future, we never have mental peace. This even destroys any capabilities we possess. Some children will dance flawlessly and with great expressions while practicing at home. But as soon as they step on the stage to perform, they become overwhelmed with fear. They feel as if the whole stage is shaking when they dance. There will be absolutely no emotions on their faces. The fear they feel inside takes away the essence of their dance.
Living in the present means performing actions with discrimination each moment, without getting anxious about past or future. The concentration with which we act in the present moment today, brings a good tomorrow. So each and every moment is valuable.
A child was always watching television. When parents reminded him to study, he would say, "the exam is in the future, right? Learned people say not to think about future and to be happy in the present moment. I hate studying. I am watching television to be happy in this moment."
His parents took him to a Guru. Guru said, "son, the meaning of living in the present moment means using the present moment to the fullest. If you do that, you will be able to live with delight and exhilaration forever. On the other hand, if you waste time on temporary pleasures, you will end up being very sad in the future. If you watch television all the time, in the future you will not be able to earn enough money to even buy a television. Therefore, you must use this moment with concentration. It is this moment that paves the way and forms a better and secure future. While studying, do it with focus, while playing enjoy play time, and while praying, do it sincerely with your whole heart."
This moment is the greatest and the most invaluable gift God has given us. That is why it is known as ‘present.’ If we abide with extreme care in this present moment, our future will be blessed and auspicious.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi