Present vs. the countdown

Perhaps one of the most challenging mindfulness disciplines of Yoga is summed up by this reminder: "Be Present".

Three little words: Be. Here. Now. Three little words that represent one of the most difficult things a person can do!

I come to this topic because I am counting down until my TT retreat starts. In fact, the first title I typed into this blog post today was "T minus 8 days". And then the more I thought about that, the less Yogic that felt. Because in counting down to the future, you are not living in the present. And not only that, but when we project our expectations onto a future event, aren't we just setting ourselves up to experience that in a certain way, instead of honoring the experience itself?

This of course is familiar to anyone who has ever "set themselves up to be let down". When we allow ourselves to overindulge in our expectations, whether it be about an event, a job, a situation or even a person or a relationship, we open ourselves up to disappointment when the reality is far different from what we expected or hoped. I have known people who seem to live chronically from one dreamy expectation to bitter disappointment, and then onto the next dreamy expectation. One lasting impression that comes from an encounter with such a person is: "s/he must be exhausted!"

The real point here is not whether or not life lives up to our expectations. From a Yoga perspective, by constantly living in expectation of a future event, we are avoiding the present. Which, wait a minute, is exactly what I am doing! At present, I have a week of work left to go, a mountain of things that need doing, people who need direction, documents that sadly will not just write themselves. And yet, here I am dreamily musing about Yoga and looking forward to my teacher training... and writing blogs!

Well, guess I should take my own advice and get back to the present... and do my best to stay focused on the here and now!