Training the Ego – 5. Living in the Now
An awful lot of people concern themselves far too much with the future or the past. Dwelling on these things often leads to anxiety or self-blame as one looks at past “mistakes” or future challenges in a negative light. Such thoughts are almost always undesirable and my advice is to avoid them whenever possible.
Yes, we should learn the lessons of the past, but we should remember that the past does not define or determine how we might respond to the same situations today. A person living in the “Now” is informed by past experience, but doesn’t think “I always do that”. They will rather think “This is a fresh situation I am facing, I choose to do what is best for me, I dare to be different, I am a different person now, I have learned and I move on”.
Similarly, it is inadvisable to think too much about the future. Of course we should have future plans and hopes but spending too much time dwelling on the future, positively or negatively, means that we are actually building within ourselves a prediction of how we will behave in the future. If we constantly worry about possible negative outcomes we create within ourselves a propensity to move towards that outcome.
Similarly if we constantly think of positive future possibilities then we are limiting the possibilities of our future by over-defining our expectations. We are also creating opportunity for disappointment when our idealised view of the positive future does not materialise. We have to be very careful and focus on the “Now”, and take time to savour and enjoy simply being in this present moment.
While I advise avoiding thinking too much about the future, there is one aspect of future projection that is positive and should be encouraged. This is the positive self-affirmation.
Many people who train their ego realise that they have unwittingly programmed it to be negative and critical about the self. That is undesirable since it makes the individual unhappy and makes it harder to have a positive outlook on the future.
Positive self-affirmations are a way of correcting this negative behaviour by programming into the ego your future truth of self. We are all wonderful beings, without exception. We struggle to see this because of the weight of the negative programming that we have absorbed and therefore what is needed is for us to remove our negative self-image using mindfulness and to reinforce our positive self-image using affirmations.
Some good self-affirmations are as follow:
Everything I touch is a success.
I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
I radiate beauty, charm, and grace.
My life is just beginning.
My nature is Divine; I am a spiritual being.
I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.
I am always guided and protected.
I wake up today with strength in my heart and clarity in my mind.
I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
My thoughts are filled with positivity and my life is plentiful with prosperity.
I have been given endless talents which I begin to utilize today.
Other affirmations can be found online. Most people find that if they choose to regularly give themselves positive affirmations they feel an awful lot better about themselves after a few weeks.
Positive self-affirmations can be used as an internal chant that can defeat or distract persistent negative thoughts.