In meditation discussions today, when we talk about the moment we seem to revere it as the end all be all of existence. Most of meditation today, popular books, references on talk shows, and dialog in other forums focus on how we need to be in the moment. In a way, the world of meditation appears to be obsessed with that idea of the moment. But, in truth, we are creatures of balance. We require all elements, the past, the present and the future.
In general, I agree with the focus of meditation on the moment. But I also feel it is important for those beginning at meditation to be aware our lives are not all about the moment. I think the focus on the moment can be a stumbling block prevent those that can benefit from meditation from going further down the path of meditation.
Releasing expectations about the past and the future is fundamental to the meditation experience. It also helps us properly interpret those past experiences because they can be viewed through a clear lens when the mind is quiet. Our mind interprets everything we see and this can alter our perceptions and muddy the truth.
However, there are several negatives that can come out of the apparent obsession with the moment. As I mentioned earlier this focus on the moment can provide a roadblock to beginners entering the practice. Also the discipline of the moment, if improperly applied can lead to tension and stress. Momentary awareness must be applied with release and not tension.
I was recently with a friend who was very stressed and was using mindfulness and meditation to help with her stress. She was commenting how difficult it was for her to stay in the moment and verbally berating herself for not being in the moment. In this case, the obsession with the moment was in fact degrading the moment and not providing the desired benefits. We should not obsess about the moment any more than we should obsess about the past or the future. All three need to be in balance to fully and properly experience life.
Meditation and moment based awareness are crucial to proper interpretation of our experiences. But we are here to experience this world as beings that can prepare for the future and reflect on the past. Without utilization of these abilities we are not fully realizing our lives. If we never dealt with anything but the moment, we would never allow for the full expression of our human experience. Time is here as a tool for us to use. Learning from the past and applying that knowledge to our future is fundamental to progress and growth.
If you are going to obsess about anything, obsess on moderation and balance.
Yes, that statement is intended to be ironic. The real take away should be moderation in all thing especially balance.