Musical icon John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." This statement contains a great deal of wisdom, as well as criticism of the pace of the modern world.
What is the present moment? It can be argued that everything that happens, happens in the present moment. If it did not happen in the present moment, then it could have never happened. Every single occurrence needs to occur sometime, and if it did occur at some point in the present moment, it did not occur at all. This is because all events and all things and beings have to exist at either a present or former present moment, in order for them to be a part of the existence that lies within The World Beyond the Mind.
The same logic applies to the content of our mentality and consciousness. This could indicate that the most common aspect in every thing, being, and occurrence, has happened at the present time. If it did not happen at this current present, then it happened in any other present moment that has served as a precursor to this day and to the days that would come.
In other words, the present moment is the only moment that truly exists. The past is gone and the future is not yet here. All we have is the present moment, and it is up to us to make the most of it.
According to this logic, Lennon is wrong in a sense that the present always happens whether you are aware of it or not, and in the sense that everything that you have already done or are doing, has occurred or simply occurs at the moment, as nothing can truly happen without having presence in the current or formerly-current time of which it had happened.
Even if I have just, theoretically, debunked Lennon's saying, I do believe in the more symbolic meaning of his quote. Whether we are aware of it or not, it is definitely arguable that most of us spend our time worrying about other things and beings rather than clearing our minds enough to see and experience the present moment, without all the clutter about the past and the future.
This makes us preoccupied enough to realize that our lives are slipping away without us being optimally aware of it, in the name of what has already happened. It's also done in order to contribute to or ensure the development of the future. As planning has an importance of its own.
In other words, even if we see and sense the world around us through our senses, we are not fully or at least not optimally immersed in it. That's because of how much we are busy worrying about other things, even when we have free time on our hands. Imagining how we would be and act differently in situations we have encountered, worrying about being able to make ends meet, thinking about how we will return the last loan we have been given by the bank, wondering if our child will get home safely, and so on and on...
Don't get me wrong. There is a practical need to preoccupy ourselves too much with the past and the future. We remember the past to learn from our mistakes and insights, and we plan for the future in order to survive and sustain our families. Such preoccupations are imperative to our functioning in a reality where doing so ensures both the survival and the potential prosperity of ourselves and others. It is just a basic, yet crucial, component of caring.
This raises the question, what is the need in focusing and immersing ourselves in the present from time to time, when we can resume in our worries of the past and the future? When we can remain in the seemingly never-ending rat race of modern life, living and working to the next paycheck, re-thinking and re-organizing the events of the past?
And my answer is the following: Since our lives are temporary, and since we often spend much of it distracted on different events that have either happened or might happen, there should still be a considerable amount of importance in letting go from time to time. Of trying to experience our lives beyond the sphere of constant, non-present preo-ccupation. As that is life itself - the present, and life will always be the present, whether we are busy doing something else or not.
Wouldn't you say that the constant need to pre-occupy ourselves is for that end, ultimately -- for a better present? And if it's not a present that's for ourselves, what about giving that present to others, to those whom we provide for and give our lives for in servitude and work? Aren't we supposed to be hardworking for that intention in mind? In order to live a better reality? Wouldn't it be enough to just enjoy the fruits of our labor temporarily?
Wht not enjoy the fruits of our labor, at least from time to time, and just let go? To relieve our minds and bodies from the constant tension of living for the next important event in the External World, and increase the value we place on the present moment, given that we will not be able to do so permanently, let alone eternally?
Therefore, let go of the phone, computer, or TV screen, or any other electronic rectangle. Relieve the tension in your muscles and in your brain, and just enjoy the present moment, at least for a few minutes. Observe your surroundings, observe yourself; two things that some of us might not always remember to do. Take a coffee or tea break from the rat race of the stressful, alienated modern life, and just let go. Once you are able to do so regularly and spontaneously, you will thank me later.
Call it Zen meditation, call it rejuvenation or a break; call it whatever you want. It is arguable that it is, objectively, just a way of letting go. Who said we have to be in action or to plan in every single moment of our adult lives?
Sometimes it's worthy to just take a walk around your empire, rather than constantly work to build it. Walk around it, see what you have produced and worked very hard for! You deserve to recognize your own efforts, don't you? Be grateful for what you've done. It isn't necessarily easy. And never overlook your hard work, just because you can and need to work more! Do try to let go of the assumption that you didn't work hard enough... if you did, in reality!
Perhaps the goal of hard work... is to let go of it from time to time, when we can regard it as nothing more than a means to an end? The time, the energy, the sacrifice... it is often done for something other than itself.