The Power of Now
Later on in the Reframe program, we'll dig deeper into the concept of “temporal time balance,” one of the inner theories of Positive Psychology. This simply means we spend an even (mental) amount of time living in the past, present, and future. Under this concept, researchers have found that typically, those who have good temporal time balance have greater well-being. (Dig more into this concept ahead of time, if you're into that kind of stuff.)
But as always, just because it bears out in research doesn’t mean it applies to you, specifically. We like to give you all sides here, so you can take what works for you and leave the rest.
With that said, if you’re not jiving with the temporal time balance theory, you might enjoy Eckhart Tolle’s take on the matter, which we wrote about in The Power of Now. Tolle found himself stressed to the max until one night, he decided it was “all in his head” (the ego) and that he could release that stress if he simply lived in the moment. And, it worked. After everyone wanted to know his secret to instant zen, he put it in a book.
The core of Tolle’s theory is that when we live in the moment—when we release the past and the future as uncontrollables—we can be able to find inner peace. When we focus on the present, including the things we can and cannot control in this moment, then we can reduce our suffering. Part of this theory requires setting aside ego—a part of the mind that seeks control over your thinking and behavior. Doing this reduces the amount of emotional pain we experience in the now. (Though he doesn’t explicitly say this, I connect the end result with the concept of flow, at least in my mind.)
According to Tolle, every second that you spend worrying about the past or the future is a second lost in the now. That by doing this, we’re missing out on the living part of our lives. If we think about life as just a series of passing moments, instead, that gives us permission to focus on this exact space in time. The present is where the doing, feeling, experiencing lives; the past is simply a collection of feelings and actions that have past, and the future is those waiting to happen. By being in this moment, we can take an active role in our doing, feeling, and experiencing.