Call off the search! Life is here, now.
We've all heard that exhilarating-sounding life advice, Carpe diem / "seize the day". Live every day like it's your last. YOLO! Images abound of spending life on a thrilling rollercoaster, watching a perpetual sunset on the idyllic sandy beach with your beautiful beloved, sex, viral twitter posts, drugs, and rock'n'roll, etc. #liveyourbestlife
"Aghh! The problem is my here and now is insufficient. Now I'm tired, sitting in front of crap TV, it's raining outside, Bojo tells me not to see my friends, and here I've got a spot on my chin. Life is tantamount to failure! Look at all those happyattractivesuccessful people on social media, don't tell me otherwise! Better post a highly artificial image on Instagram to at least make other people think I'm worthy. What happened? All those plans. Now I'm old!"
STOP! The parasitic mind has taken over. It's lying to you...
You are not your thoughts. You are the one which is aware of the thoughts.
"Seize the day" could have wisdom, but if it's just adding a load of expectations (frustrations) to the paranoid mind, you can throw it away. Funnily enough, that kind of thinking leads to anxiety and depression. Living in the now has nothing to do with the what or the external circumstances of your life. When that unchecked voice in the head is saying "I need to be something else..." or "that should have been different...", the parasite has got hold and is forcing you to avoid the abundant present moment, where life is to be found. That's the good news: you don't have to look anywhere! You could not be more complete!
The truth is, PAST and FUTURE are fictions of the mind, and TIME is a feature of the collective human mind. It's quite uncontroversial, is it not, to say that when anything happens, it is always NOW. The 'future' will unfold in the now. The 'past' also happened when it was now. Experiences cling to the mind and persist in the form of concepts and images, and we call them memories or expectations. Experiences can also cling to the body as emotional pain, and as such, particular weird things in life will be perceived as undesirable or necessary to avoid. I can be phobic of something you are not because of some body-mind blockage. I am therefore limiting my life in a way you are not. Every day, 90% of unconscious thought is the same as it was yesterday. See Joe Dispenza's Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. Ever seen the film Groundhog Day? Your unconscious thoughts make you live your life in the most predictable, boring way. If you always think what you've always thought you'll always get what you've always got, and the present moment is the portal to recognising that. That is where true change happens.
Both time and thought are obviously useful in getting stuff done in this world, but the important question is: are you the governor, or does time and thought govern you? One mode of existence is beautiful, the other one is a nightmare.
When the penny experientially drops, you may find yourself dancing around the room. After this royalty free picture of a man in a suit holding his big clock head, some FAQs.
Can I not have ambitions for the future?
Sure, but without a successful present moment, the quality of your actions is vastly diminished leading to a worse next present moment, so you may be barking up the wrong tree. Grounded in presence and without so much unconscious thought (desires based on lack/not-having), your ambitions may in fact change. If you know that you are complete and full now, ambitions don't have the same possessive power and needy quality. What does success really mean to you?
If the future doesn't exist, can I not plan?
Of course you can, planning happens in the present moment, doesn't it? However, your desire to plan may not be so severe. I used to be someone who tried to have a grip of control over many things, but I am gradually learning that life is more beautiful and more effective when you allow things to be a bit unknown and spontaneous. Over-planning is like self-imposed fascism and blocks out the spontaneous life force. Be joyful like a flower. Feed yourself with the right things, grow, and be beautiful, firmly grounded in presence.
Will my memories disappear if I live in the Now?
No, but they won't have the same nagging quality. Awakening is all about throwing a great dose of perspective on everything.
Why are you making out thoughts to be so terrible? Thinking has lead to the greatest human discoveries and inventions. And actually, I am a very positive thinker, so fuck you and your present moment.
If it's not completely dysfunctional, the mind often balances the 'negative' with 'positive' in order to perpetuate itself. "YAY, I got a promotion. #WINNING". If the mind was negative all the time, there'd be a lot more people on the planet wanting to awaken out of it. Human thinking is an effective tool, and capable of absolute genius, but dangerous when let loose in an unconscious way. Human thinking also invented the atomic bomb and organised the Holocaust, so there is a difference between cleverness and intelligence isn't there?
If you're not ready to awaken out of unconscious thought, that is fine, and may mean that you have not yet suffered enough to ask the question "is there another way...?"