For over 20 years, I have been working with clients, both as a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. There has been a lot of recent attention given to the topic of “being in the now” and “being in the present moment.” This experience can be life changing, lasting minutes, hours, days, a lifetime or can come and go. There is a common thread that people experience when they move into “being in the now.” It is an opening into an inner stillness and a distinct feeling of a background and foreground shift. This opening is a taste of the Divine or Universe or God which rightly feeds our spiritual longing for more.
This concept is not new; spiritual paths have always talked about being in the present and being in the now. Some spiritual teachers and great sages have shared their experience of waking up one morning in this state of grace and never going back to ordinary consciousness or suffering. For most of us though, achieving this oneness takes the same quality it takes to get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.
What ever we see as our ultimate spiritual goal, living in the present moment deepens our experience. Depending on your religious affiliation and predilection, the experience of being in the moment is also being with God. That is what all the great spiritual leaders have found for themselves and have taught others. I can name countless wonderful books and teachers that speak of being and living in the present moment. Every tradition has its mystical teachings that speak of unity consciousness and all-at-one-ment.
What do we do when we are unable to sustain being in the now? Just know that when it comes to transformation there is no quick fix for most of us. Spiritual by-passing, jumping over or getting rid of the ego, can feel like a futile endeavor. It may work for a while but for authentic movement toward finding our wholeness, we must be impeccable in our observation of what is inside of us.
What most of us will find is that we do worry about the future and react from the past. This is all part of our human journey. Taking the next step involves dealing head on with what ever arises in the moment, whether it is a worry or a fear. Difficulties are an opportunity to start building our muscles toward being in the present. Being with the truth of what ever arises creates a healthy ego.
Psychotherapy, as well as many spiritual practices, can help us deal with those internal thoughts and feelings from our personal histories that cause our suffering.
Let’s remember that when we work with the ego and our humanity, we can integrate into a consciousness that is healed enough to tolerate whatever life brings. Doing this develops personal maturity and an unshakable sense of “self” allowing the ego to relax which helps sustain and stabilize “being in the now.”
Dr. Jennifer Howard is a licensed psychotherapist, healer, author, relationship counselor, and professional speaker with more than 20 years of experience in helping people make changes in their lives. She’s created a personal development plan and assists people in personal development and spiritual growth through her lectures, workshops, and her upcoming book, Changes That Last. She has offices in Huntington, Long Island, NY, and New York City, is a leading expert on spirituality and psychology, and is a former faculty of the graduate program of A Society of Souls. Dr. Howard has been frequently seen as an expert and featured guest on national television shows including, The Maury Povich Show, Turning Point, America’s Talking, Rolanda, Charles Perez, Les Brown and others.
Right now, Dr. Howard is offering a free downloadable MP3 of her recent lecture, "The Intelligence of the Heart" to anyone who subscribes to her free ezine. Along with the free MP3 members of the site can read articles written by Dr. Howard, gain access to the online Virtual Meditation Room with guided and visual meditations, and more. Visit DrJenniferHoward.com