First of all, we have to realize that living in the present moment and focusing our minds on the present moment is not a simple thing. It is very hard, but also it is an achievable target. The Supreme Buddha, taught us: “Atitam nānvāgameyya, nappatikankhe anāgatam”; we should not chase after the past and we should not make too many expectations about the future. The Supreme Buddha said: “Yadatitam pahinam tam, appattañca anāgatam”; what is past is left behind, it is gone, it is over now. “Appattañca anāgatam”. The future is yet to come, it hasn’t reached us yet. The Buddha said: “Paccuppannañca yo dhammam, Tattha tattha vipassati.” What we have to do is live in the present moment and see the present moment as it is, and realize the present moment as it is.
It is very hard to focus our minds on the present moment. The Buddha taught us the nature of the mind is it always runs to the past. Normally, our mind has a habit of wondering about past memories. When we are alone, when we are in solitude, normally it is the nature of our mind that runs to the past. It lives in the past memories, thinking about them. Sometimes we may regret situations from the past. Sometimes we may be happy about our memories. Sometimes we may cry about our memories. That is the nature of our mind. It is always wandering in the past and also sometimes our mind tries to make too many expectations about the future. People dream too much about their future, but they do not work for the dreams to come true.
Our great teacher, the Buddha, taught us: we should not let our minds wander the past as well as we should not let our minds go to the future and make too many expectations about that. We have to work in the present moment to make our future better, as well as to make our past better. Because when we live correctly in the present moment, our past will be a good one because we have lived in the correct way. Also if we are sure that we live correctly, in the right way in the present moment, our future will also be a good one because we are doing the right thing right now. We need to have good practice to focus our minds to the present moment. It should be practiced by meditation as well as it should be practiced in our day-to-day life.
There are tricks or things that we should practice in our lives to be in the present moment. When we have free time, dedicate ourselves to living in the present moment for a little time. During the day, when we have free time, allocate our time about 5 minutes to live in the present moment. Sitting on a chair, we can close our eyes and just experience that we are in our present. We are not in your past. We are not in our future. Always we are in our present. That is the reality. The past has gone as well as the future hasn’t come yet. We can close our eyes and just try to focus our minds to the present moment. Try to think about what we feel, what we hear, and what we think about. All the things that we experience now will fade away into the past. It will go into the arena of the past. Take the time in the day and practice this.
The best way to focus our mind on the present moment is breathing meditation. Breathing meditation is one of the best meditations that we can bring our mind from the arena of the past and the future to the present moment. When we focus on our breath, the breath always arises and it goes away. This breath prevails in the present. When we focus on our breath, then our mind is always in the present moment.
We have to practice to live in the present moment in our day-to-day life. How to do that? It is very beneficial to live in the present when we are in hard times when we go through a problem. Suppose a person comes to us and starts blaming us. When he’s blaming us, we hear that sound, words. When we think about these words, when he is blaming us, we hear that. After that very moment, it has gone to the arena of the past. Those words are not prevailing anymore. But our mind does not like to think that. Our mind clings to those words, our mind tries to hold on to those words. What our mind does is always make a loop to bring back all those thoughts, all those words again and again to our mind. That is why we suffer. That is why we feel hurt. If we can realize the reality that all these words that we heard have gone to the past, they are no longer here anymore. They vanished, so we do not want to suffer from them. Because it has gone to the past, we can do nothing about that. Our mind is not ready for that and tries to cling to those words. What we have to do when someone blames us, when we go through a hard time realize that all those things are impermanent. It vanishes very quickly from my life. We do not want to worry about them.
If we live in the present moment correctly, doing the correct things, doing the right things, doing good things, we do not want to worry about the past as well we do not want to worry about the future. We can make plans for the future, no problem. But do not dream too much about it, because the more we dream, it is like we stop our vehicle and just look at the road without driving. The more we dream, we feel jealous of the achievers who achieve our goals. It is like you stop your vehicle on the road and look at the vehicles that pass by. We are not driving. We can make plans, we can make plans to achieve our goals but do not dream too much about it. Just start working on it. The dream becomes the goal when we work on it. If we can live in the present by doing the correct things, doing what should be done now, we do not want to worry about the past as well as we do not want to worry about the future.
In that way, we will have a life without regret and without worrying about the future and the past and live our life in the present moment and be happy in our life.