We have difficulties with living in the present moment because we are human. As long as we don’t understand our nature, it’s not possible to focus on the now for us.
Why do we care about living in the now? What’s so special about the present moment?
Because it’s all there is. If you actually think about what you can do or experience, you’ll realize it all has to happen right now.
So why being human is a problem?
Because we have the luxury to function improperly when our belly is full. Every person can easily resonate with what I am saying.
There have been countless times in your life where everything went perfectly well but still you managed to create new problems. Strangely we all have mastery in creating new situations especially if there’s none.
Fulfilling our biological desires is never enough to ake us entirely happy. Have you ever thought why are we like that?
To have an answer to this question, we need to go back in time.
Nature is the ultimate environment for becoming present in the moment
Our genetic inheritance has been shaped for billions of years in order to optimize our survival chance. Look at yourself. You are physically weak, slow, unqualified compared to all animal kingdom. You can’t live naked like animals do because you get cold easily. You need a warm isolated house to protect yourself from nature. What did you have to do in these conditions?
What would happen if you just laid your ass off and think all day long? Yeah, you would die. That’s why you had to focus on what’s going on by being present all the time. You had to master the present moment for your survival.
The human environment went through a certain rapid change in the last centuries. However, your DNA doesn’t care about the era you live in because it takes millions of years to change the genetic code.
What do we know about optimizing our lifestyle?
Everybody knows about the benefits of exercising, well-balanced nutrition, low-stress lifestyle, etc…
Back then, we had these things by default. We try to shape our current livings like we used to live.
However, very few people know about this key element which is called…
Chaos rules the world.
What does that mean? That means we are built to do everything in a chaotic way. If we eliminate chaos from our lives, we start to suffer.
For example, if you are seeing the same people over and over again, your IQ lowers down or if you eat the same food all the time, the metabolic stress in your body increases. However, if there’s always something new in your life, that keeps your brain and body in shape.
We are forced to live in the now when our environment offers something new.
When the new tasks appear, the brain says “Oh wait, I guess need to be online to handle this”. So it activates your inner powers for continual growth by producing new cells.
Chaos sounds like a negative term. Google says “complete disorder and confusion” as a definition of chaos. However, in physics it means, “the property of a complex system whose behavior is so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.”
If you say fuck you physics, let’s simply define chaos as the operating system of nature. For example, we know that summers are hot and winter is cold but we can never guess the temperature of one year later.
Our mathematical computing is not competent enough to find out the weather condition for such a long time. Check out your phone, it will only tell you the weather of the following 5 days with a possible margin of error.
It would be arrogant to say there is no order in nature just because we can’t predict it. So, when we meet new phenomenons in a complicated way that we can’t make certain calculations and we call it chaos.
If there’s a human, there must be chaos.
Put 10 children in a room and pray for not experiencing any chaos.
Chaos is the main reason why we love sports. You don’t know where the ball will go and that’s perfect for being present all the time. The music sounds great when you can’t guess the upcoming notes because you get excited by the novelty factor to stay connected to the now.
We are also in love with the order.
Damn, we as human beings are such whores sometimes. Well, most of the time.
Have you ever heard about the entropy? It’s the hidden -well, not anymore- force that complicates life. Your room becomes a mess when you don’t tidy it regularly because of entropy.
People age, the garden gets attacked by weeds, the whole world will be gone one day because entropy always increases over time. So, we are always in a fight with this highly resistive force to put things in order.
Pic: Chaotic and well-ordered ropes
Look at these ropes.
Obviously, the rope on the left was just left there by anybody. Well, how about the second one? Aha, we smell some effort there and it’s more eye-pleasing because we like the order.
In pursuit of reaching the ultimate order, we built great cities but we still go to the picnic because nature is the center of chaos. It’s the ultimate place where we feel calm, relaxed, chill by being present.
Okay, civilization brought us extreme comfort but what are we going to do with it if we are unable to breathe?
Chaos is needed for living in the now
Everything is perfectly arranged in the cities but still loads of people queue up for psychiatric treatment. Highly civilized northern European countries have the highest suicide rates.
Look, we worked our ass off to build this highly developed civilization but what does it really offer us? The birds make a nest in one or two days, the rats dig a hole in one night. but clever humans have to spend 30 years to have a house, and many people can’t believe that they can have a house in this life.
So we can’t eat healthy food, have basic needs like clothes, medicine, sheltering cheap and easy, and you call this shit civilization? Something somewhere went terribly wrong.
It’s clear that there’s something incompatible with human nature and city life.
Back then we were living with the mother nature, we used to eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, do anything when we felt a need to do it. Right now, we are all forced to live according to an external clock.
How can you appreciate the present moment when jobs have regular working hours, school hours are also pretty strict? Most activities have specific times to start like meetings, tv shows, matches, etc.
To catch up an external clock is highly stressful.
Nature used to provide us a chance to live according to our inner clock. There was no waiting 15 minutes for a bus in nature.
Who’d like to make plans for a picnic as,
- 8.35 – leave the house
- 9.05 – arrive at the picnic area
- 11.15 – build a fire
Nobody does this scheduling for vacation because we hate to live by an external clock. We want to do things as we feel like it. Why? Because we are completely fine living with the chaos. Instinctively we know that living in the now is more rewarding.
Chaos always rules at the end of the day.
Talk to an economist, they will tell you that every 7 to 8 years one economic crisis hit the world. That’s interesting, then why don’t you write it to a calendar and be prepared for the next one? Why do we always get surprised?
We can’t do that…
Because we don’t know exactly which day it will happen and we prefer to live as it will never happen. Well, don’t blame economists for doing that because this is what we do in every part of life.
We live like
- There won’t be any crisis
- We will never get ill
- There won’t be any natural disaster
- We will never die
Why? Because uncertainty freaks us out by putting a lot of stress on our shoulders.
Humans are blessed with a gift which is also a curse at the same time. What’s that?
We can easily think about the future and the past. When there’s a lot of uncertainty about our future, anxiety penetrates into our bones.
We make plans and schedules to have the illusion of predicting the future. We can’t accept the inadequacy of our limited knowledge, that’s why we keep searching for certain solutions.
- “Tell me! What should I eat to be healthy??”
- “Fucking moron! You write thousands of words but you deliver no solution!”
Everyone is looking for an expert to solve their life problems. It’s no coincidence that everybody started to claim they are experts. This is the era of fake experts to get easy money. If people hear you say “I don’t know”, they see you like a loser.
How the hell someone know everything? For example, I know nothing about you. “But there are a lot of experts who claim to know it! Why can’t you know?”.
Neither I have a desire to be an expert nor I chase getting into your wallet. You live in a world where you must be an expert. You gotta be your own doctor, personal trainer, and finance coach.
But we love receiving advice on anything, why? Because it creates the illusion of certainty. “Oh, If I follow the steps my life coach told me, everything is going to be alright!”
No, it won’t. That’s the harsh truth you must face. If you look at life, the roads are never perfectly smooth and straight. Nature is aesthetic, beautiful, and eye-pleasing because of the chaos factor.
No matter how hard we try to build a perfect system, nature always beats human wisdom because it’s smarter than we think. We could never come up with a better system than nature provides for us.
So why do we relentlessly chase something we can’t attain? The whole mystery lies behind our brain structure.
Want to become fully present?
Start with understanding your brain.
When you examine the human brain, it’s clearly overdeveloped compared to the other life forms like it’s blown up by an air compressor, especially our frontal cortex. Unlike other species, we join the game of life with a highly developed starter pack.
For example, we all know we are going to die and we are the only species aware of this fact.
We are all going to die!
Wow, what a surprise for you ha?
Let me guess, you just read this statement and kept on living as nothing happened.
How do I know this? Because we are also the only species who don’t give a shit about that. Isn’t this pretty weird?
Somebody puts a gun in our head for our entire life and we also don’t know when it’s going to be pulled off. This is a whole giant thing in itself. You can die in 10 seconds by falling out of a chair, in 10 days by hitting by a truck, or in 10 years by a heart attack.
We don’t know shit about shit. Things will certainly not go well at some point apart from being dead. You can lose lots of money, your relatives can die, you can lose your job, etc.
This is only the perspective of having thoughts about the future. What about the past? The past can hurt even if you run from it. There is no animal complaining about carrying a childhood trauma like “If my dad didn’t beat me up, I would have been a better rabbit.”
The past and future are full of troubles, so why are we equipped with this system? Just to have more suffering?
No, there is a crucial purpose behind this. To reach this purpose, we need to be great at one sure thing and that is to be able to focus on NOW.
If we can somehow direct our focus into the present moment, regardless of how hard our mind sabotage us with our past and future, amazing things can happen.
Living in the moment is often interpreted as “Carpe Diem Baby!”, “Screw it! Are we going to live again?”, “Let’s just eat, drink, and be merry”.
That is not the case at all.
Even if you lay down on the best beach for sunbath, or walk down on a beautiful park, your mind can easily find a way to cause trouble. We often experience this while reading a book. You read 5 pages and ask yourself, “What the hell did I read? I don’t remember any shit”.
Of course, you don’t because meanwhile your mind was busy with thinking of real estate issues. Damn, you gotta read it again.
The dogs are fully concentrated on the present moment all the time. This is why you don’t see a dog philosopher.
What about the now of human beings? Do you know about the famous painter Bob Ross? Every time he stood in front of an empty canvas, we were so excited to see what he was going to paint.
Pic: The Famous Painter, Bob Ross
It was perfect to see trees, birds, and excellent views of nature that come out of his brush. We did not know much about painting, so whenever he made a new move, we were thrilled by what if the painting would be ruined. However, after a few brushstrokes, it was surprising and soothing to see new 3d trees and mountains in such depth.
If we were able to dive deep into the mind of Bob Ross, we could see some strange events happening that can never be replicated by other creatures. What are these?
1- Experience: From how he holds the brush to his feet movement, Bob carries a lot of experience in front of the canvas while he’s fully present.
2- Future prediction: There must be a rough prediction in his mind about how the painting will look after he’s done with it.
The key is to not focus on these to make a great painting but to be present in the now. When you become present in the moment, you already have access in all the ways.
So, what do we have now in our education system? Lots of theoric garbage information with almost zero experience.
We ask youngsters, “what are you going to do with your life?”. They often tell “I don’t know, maybe I will become an engineer or a doctor”.
If you ask them why, they will tell it’s because of their parents. We never give them a chance to make their own way. They never deal with future predictions or experiences of the past. This is why they can never go from A to B but get stuck in the same place for years.
Parent: “Oh, my kid wants to be a Youtuber but he has never shot a single video yet.”
Somebody: “Why haven’t you done it, kid?”
Kid: “Well, there are already great ones, why would I bother?”
Here’s the dream: “Making Youtube videos and earning millions of dollars out of it”. It always stays as a dream because there’s no experience element in it. So, the road is always stuck and the kid ends up being a Youtuber consumer again.
If you do not feed these both sides “Experience” and “Future Vision”, the mind becomes such a dangerous tool. It either must be busy with getting some experience or shaping your future. Otherwise, it will cause a lot of disturbance through anxiety, depression, and such mental disorders. Then, numbing is the only choice you are left with.
Working for a worthy ideal by living in the now is the only way to escape from misery.
Our ancestors survived in wild nature by focusing on the now. Being present in the moment opened the path of reaching the flow state and it helped us to dance with the chaos.
If you have ever danced, you know that you can’t go blind in dancing because there’s a rhythm and you need to go along with your partner to have harmony.
To live in the now, learn how to dance with chaos
The real life can only be lived after learning how to dance with chaos. If we force ourselves to live in an environment designed in perfect order, then we lose our precious gift.
Our minds become our enemy because we leave them wandering aimlessly, so they became dull. Look at the world we live in, you can have anything you want at your door with one click. You can even live in the same place for 80 years without changing your beliefs.
We all have this comfort and it has become the biggest curse we have. Since I’ve realized this phenomenon, I always looked for new struggles as soon as I am done with the last one.
The moment you stop in wild nature, it is the time you start dying. Static life leads to regression, and you can’t even stay in the same place physically and mentally.
“The human brain is like a millstone. If you don’t throw something new in it, it’ll grind itself.” -Ibn Haldun
A warrior who doesn’t have a fight eventually will have a fight with himself.
When you find your fight, there’s no other place you’d rather be. You will float weightlessly because it will free you.
We all have this amazing gift as long as we stay connected to our nature.
Let’s just not forget where we came from and where we are going. Let’s remember who we are again and do what we are all meant to do.