An experience with the power of now
Recently I found myself really stressed out.
My situation was that I was living in China, without a job, without an apartment and without much certainty about the future. (you can read how this came about here)
I regretted my recent past choices and was bothered by the uncertainty of my future. I knew I needed to find a new job, but even after applying for every decent job I could find I still couldn’t relax. Even when I knew there was nothing I needed to do in the moment to improve my situation I was still heavily stressed I couldn’t get the constant nagging out of my head. I kept thinking about how much I hate not knowing what to do next or where I was going or what would happen. Every day that passed during this time was anxious and worrisome. I was causing myself a lot of mental suffering. This continued until when looking through one of my bags I noticed the book ‘The Power of Now’ was in it, I grabbed it and started reading.
The Power of Now mainly teaches how when you focus yourself completely in the present moment things are usually perfect. It’s only when we regret our past or worry about our future we cause ourselves suffering. One part of the chapter I was reading stood out really strongly in my mind. It said something like “If you’re not happy with your present situation you have 3 options. Leave it, change it, or accept it. Anything else is insane.” When it went into more detail it basically said, if you leaving an unhappy situation is undesirable or impossible then the next step is to do everything you can to change it. Once you’ve done what you can all that’s left is to accept the situation you are in. To resist and suffer over a situation that you are in where you either can’t change it or you’ve done everything you can to change it is foolish. I immediately realized how insane I was being causing myself so much stress. I couldn’t leave my situation without returning to Canada which I didn’t want to do… I had done everything I could to change it by applying for countless jobs, but the third step of accepting where I was while waiting for responses about the jobs definitely wasn’t happening. I realized instead of seeing my situation as a negative one I should be accepting it and making the most out of it. I should still work on applying for jobs while I could but also doing everything possible to enjoy the rest of my time. It didn’t make any sense to allow myself to get all stressed out over it, the stress didn’t accomplish anything.
Even after realizing the logic of this I still felt a little stressed out. Logically knowing something and feeling it are definitely two different things. It wasn’t until I read further and really put myself completely in the present moment that I began to feel better. I looked around my clean hotel room, felt the cozy bed beneath me and realized everything in the present moment really was perfect.
Then I realized everything was perfect, and I was also a little hungry.
Feeling good I went out to a noodle shop I had been wanting to try for a few nights. It was already 8:30 pm but strangely enough every table had at least 1 person at it. After grabbing my noodles I had the urge to sit with one particular woman. After asking to join her in Chinese she replied with fluent English and I knew I had made the right choice. Her name was Rita, after a good conversation I started noticing all the synchronicities that led up to our meeting. I had finished the chapter of my book at the perfect time, I was also drawn to this restaurant a few nights ago but decided to put it off until tonight, it happened to be full which was quite rare so late forcing us to sit together, I happened to pick the right table amongst them all, and most of all Rita lived on the other side of town but decided to come to this restaurant because she had the urge to relive a memory she had here a long time ago. Rita decided I needed to see more of Nanning so we went downtown to the city center together. She showed me around a bit and then told me she had a thing for video games(first Chinese girl ever). Being an ex-video game tester myself I was thrilled. We hit up the nearby arcade and had an awesome time. We even had more luck and synchronicities, we managed to find a bag of tokens on the floor with no owner to claim them and then we won about 10 tokens in a game of chance!
I’m a firm believer that when you are in a good mental state, when you are enjoying life and when you have positive energy, synchronicities line up for you and good things happen. This belief has been reinforced countless times here in China. I’m certain that if I hadn’t of read The Power of Now and had of remained stressed and worried that night the encounter and all the luck that followed with it wouldn’t have happened.
The power of putting your focus truly and completely in the present moment is something that still amazes me even after learning about it so long ago. The amount of grief, stress and suffering we cause ourselves by living in the past or the future is huge but often we don’t realize that the past is already gone and the future has never existed. In reality the present moment is all there is, all there was and all there ever will be. It’s still smart to learn from your past and to plan for your future as long as you’re doing it while remaining rooted in the now rather than reliving painful past events or worrying about imaginary future situations.
The night with Rita ended well. We exchanged numbers and qq’s (Chinese msn chat) and said a friendly goodnight sure that we would see each other again.
The next time you feel yourself stressing out, see if it is being caused by having your mind stuck in the past or the future. Instead try putting yourself completely in the now and realize the perfection of the present moment.