For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. – Viktor E Frankl
The heart of this rule is to always be in the moment. Tomorrow does not matter, and yesterday is gone. Even each individual moment in the day, the one being experienced Right Now is more important than any of the rest.
It’s no accident that I made this the first of all of my rules. In a sense, all other rules are at the hands of this one. Every rule is subject to the present. All of life is subject to the present. This present, this now, is the dictator of them all.
I spent a great enough segment of my life living in the past, in my struggles with PTSD. After well long enough with this, being able to live freely in the present instead is something that is of extremely high importance to me. It is in the moment that I have found my peace. It is in the moment that I have found freedom greater than any others.
One of my favorite methods of present-ness is expressed in Mindfulness Meditation. To be in the moment, non-judgmentally for a time. Accepting the now for what it is.
Which is where this rule enters some of the deeper levels. It is not exactly about not thinking about the past or the future. It is simply about focusing on the now, embracing it entirely. Everything about Right Now is exactly as it should be. Right Now is perfect, in its own beautiful, unique ways. It will never be experienced again, yet is essential for every moment following. Every moment before has led to this singular moment. Sometimes unpleasant, sometimes difficult or distressing; the moment remains beautiful and perfect, despite any negatives that could be stated about it. Such is the true essence of this rule.
But what about the future? What about planning that future? What about learning from the past?
All of this speaking about the present always brings up plans for the future and lessons from the past. By this rule, should those really be ignored?
No. Absolutely not!
This rule simply calls for a separate push. A different focus on planning and learning.
Beginning with the past, I like to reword any focus given to the past. Beginning at “What can we learn from the past?” I find this an especially important thing, to learn from the many lessons that the past and history has for us. Additionally, without the past, Right Now would not be; without the past, Now would be a much different moment. Therefor, the past is worth respect and listening to. To fit within the “Right Now is more important”, however, it can be rephrased: What can the past teach me about Right Now?
For example, the past will have lessons that can alter decisions I face Right Now. Learning from what has happened then can teach me the wisest choices to make now. Additionally, it can help me to appreciate Right Now. Although moments of my past are dark, I can look at them to gain appreciation of the now. How far I have come from those times, and the strength and wisdom I have gained to help me Right Now.
Any thought about the past is still focused on Right Now in this way. Similarly, I do the same with the future.
Many people talk about making plans for the future. I have really moved away from “plans” per se, myself. Perhaps this won’t fit for everyone, but I find it works for me. Instead of plans, I make goals. When I began preparing for this journey of living out of my car, I made it a singular goal to be able and ready for this lifestyle. With such a goal in mind, I began considering what I could do in those moments. Piece by piece, I achieved the pieces I could in those moments, and eventually my goal was achieved.
Still yet, I have future goals I wish to meet. As I continue, I consider what it is that I can do to reach these goals Right Now. I focus on that alone. The goals may help me, and some may be grand. The Right Now of this piece is more important than that final goal, though. When the time comes that I achieve my goal, it will be then that the goal matters. Until then, I focus on the Right Now of what I can do, and let the future sort itself out accordingly.
So is my number one rule. Always live in the moment, accepting it as the perfect moment that it is. Appreciating the past through the lens of the Now and acting towards the future with eyes set on the present alone. Such the importance of Right Now is kept above all other times.