The mind is bound to time. Time is its natural habitat. The mind is always busy processing either the past or the future. What's happening in your head right now? Pleasant memories. Unpleasant memories. Regrets about missed opportunities or mistakes. Plans for the future. Hopes for a pleasant future. Fear of an unpleasant future.
These important threads of thought help us to survive. But in everyday life, while running between "stations" of responsibilities, we get completely lost in those time-related themes. They destroy meaning. If you think about tomorrow all the time, it will never come. Tomorrow you'll think about tomorrow again.
But neither the past nor the future are real. They don't exist anywhere but in your memory. Consciousness is only valuable if, at least sometimes, you live in the present moment. Just like money loses its value if all you do is save and never spend.
What is the present moment? Is it boring? It seems that the present moment is always filled with waiting. You either wait for the meeting to start or you wait for it to end. You wait for change. For news. For an event. For the beginning. For the end.
I've been meaning to write this book for a long time, and I've been often thinking about the future where it is being written. As I type these words right now, I catch myself hoping it's over. But wait. In the past I've been wanting to write, to tell, to express myself. But suddenly I've forgotten about all of that. Now I'm experiencing a different present, a present which craves a different future. My brain is a whimsical child. Give him a toy he's been hysterical for hours, he'll throw it away and cry for another one.
The path to perception of the present may be long, but at the end you will realize that you did not have to go anywhere. You already understood everything in the beginning.
Do it right now. Don't worry, you have two minutes. You're not doing anything important. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Feel the air passing through your nose, accelerating, cooling. Notice the moment when the breath slows down at the end of an inhale and then at the end of an exhale. For a couple of moments nothing happens, and then the breath brings you back to the starting point. Now listen to the world around you. Highlight five different sounds. There are leaves rustling outside my window. There's a noise coming from a distant road. My stomach rumbles slightly. Somebody slammed the car door. The lamp's humming. I haven't heard it, though I've been sitting here for two hours.
You can't help but let new thoughts jump into your head. It's okay. It's inevitable. You can't change that. Just notice it. It's like, "uh, I'm thinking about tomorrow's trip." Or, "funny, I remembered a classmate." Be a witness to what's going on in your mind.
There seem to be no other way,
The speed of time, time's evil brother.
You chew the bread of yesterday,
While freshly baked becomes another.