What’s so great about living in the present moment, anyway?

Jeff Valdivia
7 min readJul 11, 2019
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Do not dwell on the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

~ Buddha

Are you tired of people suggesting you “live in the moment”, “be present”, or “stop to smell the roses”?

I mean, what’s wrong with examining the past or looking toward the future? Don’t you need to do these things if you’re ever going to achieve your desires and goals?

And you have no shortage of desires and goals, do you?

You desire the promotion you’re working toward.

You want that big, beautiful home, like the one your friends just moved into.

You wish for a wonderful partner, or at least something better than all the duds you’ve been dating lately.

These desires and goals are a natural part of being human.

But, have you ever noticed a commonality among them all?

I recently read a line in Sam Harris’ book Waking Up that really struck me. His point was roughly, we’re all trying to make our way back to the present and to be satisfied there.

There is something heartbreakingly true about this statement. We mostly live our lives looking to the future for salvation because we think our present circumstances aren’t good enough.

Do you think your happiness will arrive only once your desires have been satisfied and your goals have been achieved?

The tragedy of our predicament

We’re all a little crazy. There’s no debating that.

But when it comes to our own happiness, we’re stark raving mad.

You, me, everyone — we’re all stuck in a life-long spiral into misery. And we jump, willingly, into this shit storm every day. Let me explain.

Say, you want a promotion at work. Maybe you feel like you’ve been passed over for it in the past, maybe you think your work speaks for itself. Whatever the reason, wanting the promotion makes you feel dissatisfied with the job you’ve got. You fantasize about what your life will be like when you finally get that promotion — you think to yourself, then I’ll be happy.

Jeff Valdivia

Following my curiosity and hoping it will lead me to wisdom. I write about psychology, meditation, self-development, and spirituality.