Summary: It's easy to get sidetracked and let your mind wander. We get focused on things from the past or what's in the future. This can be especially true as we head into the new year. If we're not careful we'll risk losing out on making the most of the moment.
BE IN THE NOW
INTRODUCTION: Be Here Now is a book published in 1971 by Ram Dass on Hindu spirituality and yoga. I've never read the book and don't subscribe to Hinduism but the principle of the phrase itself is a valid one. Be here now communicates the importance of keeping your focus on what you're doing right now.
It's so easy to get sidetracked and let your mind wander. It's so easy to get focused on things from the past as well as thinking about what's in the future. As we head into a new year, we can easily find ourselves doing that. We look back and focus on what we didn't accomplish last year. We look ahead and think about what we would like to accomplish in 2018. But if we're not careful we'll risk not taking advantage of where we are right now and making the most of the moment.
1) One day at a time.
This phrase is a popular A.A. slogan. In researching this I came across this article. "I imagine that this is the very first slogan that found its way into the original Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Can't you just picture a frantic newcomer talking about how difficult he was finding sobriety? I can almost imagine the conversation:
Newcomer: What am I going to do? Next week I have to go to the office Christmas party – how will I ever stay sober there! Old-timer: Slow down, it's not next week yet. Take it One Day at a Time!
And a slogan is born – because it's got some real wisdom in it. For in truth, each one of us has only one day at a time – or one hour or one moment. In the first few rocky days of recovery, just abstaining for that moment, hour, etc. is truly all we can do. If we can't do that, there's no point in worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or whenever.
The One Day at a Time philosophy has benefits far beyond the early days in recovery. It can keep us grounded in the present – that Holy Instant that is so easy to miss in a busy and productive life.
Unfortunately, though, some in 12 Step Groups have taken the philosophy to mean we shouldn't plan. This is patently false. A major promise of the Program is to restore us to sanity, and that includes planning. We need to set goals, make appointments, and design our lives. But planning doesn't mean we have to leave One Day at a Time behind –the trick is to watch for expectations.
It's one thing to plan and quite another to demand that the plan work out the way we require it too–in that we have no control at all. When our plans bring unintended results–as they often do–all we need do is reevaluate, accept where we are in this moment, and start anew. Knowing, using and accepting the present moment is part of being Powerfully Recovered, whether you're in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or any other 12 Step Group."
This is good advice, not just for the addict but for all of us. Not keeping it in the now can cause us to panic. If I stay in panic mode I'm doomed to fail. Being in the now means I only have to focus on what I need to do right now. The one day at a time principle allows me to stay grounded which will enable me to be successful.
I like what he said about one day at a time doesn't mean we don't make plans. Be here now doesn't mean don't make proper plans. It's wise to make plans and preparations. Failing to plan is planning to fail. But that doesn't mean our plans are final.
Prov. 16:9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." This doesn't mean we're all robots, God obviously allows some people to follow through with their negative plans. But this means that a man can make plans all he wants but God has the final say on everything.
A man doesn't have the absolute power to make things happen the way he wants them to. He has no control over circumstances, the weather, other people's actions, etc. God does and that is the point of the verse. And for us that's a good thing. If we're humble we won't think we know how everything should go.
We can't see the future; only God can. So we make plans according to how we think things should go but we can't calculate that which is unpredictable. Therefore, we allow God to determine our steps, knowing that whichever direction he steers us in is the right one. Being in the now is planning a course but staying in the moment. It's taking the first step and leaving the results to God.