Living in the present is a true gift that frees us from our pain and anxiety. When we focus on the present moment, we gain control of lives that can be spinning out of control. In the present, we are liberated from the mistakes, regrets, guilt, and traumas of the past. In the present, we are liberated from the worries, anxieties, and overwhelming tasks from the future.
During meditation, we connect to the present moment because we are momentarily not distracted by our racing, chattering, ego-driven minds. We cannot have the peace and serenity we have during meditation while we aren't meditating because the voice in your head can run non-stop. One of the many tedious and arduous things about the voice in your head is that it is almost never present. The mind loves to bring up past hurts, to dwell on things we cannot change from the past or the future, and to obsess with worry about tomorrow, next week, next year, and even death.
You might think that living in the present is a pop-psychology band-aid to today's problems, but it isn't. Being present doesn't promise that you will never suffer. Being present does have the power though to help you gain acceptance and understanding, to surrender to what is. By focusing our attention on the “here and now,” much of the discomfort, pain, and agony we experience dissipates. Being present is an invitation into the stillness, which is where peace, serenity, and long-lasting happiness can be found. This is where meditation comes in.
During meditation, one steps away from the hustle and bustle of normal living. By quieting our minds, we may not realize that what we are then doing is living in the present. With the voice in the head silent, we are unable to let our thoughts drift anywhere but to the present. When we realize, as spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says in his popular book The Power of Now, that we are not the voices in our heads, we then see that we only ever exist in the present. This means that 90% of that mental chatter filling up our minds is not us. Living in the present moment has that kind of power.
~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com
From the Pure Life Mediation bookstore: The Mirror of Mindfulness by Tsele Natsok Rangdrol