Many of us have a huge struggle in being present to this moment and fail as a consequence to taste and truly appreciate the very beautiful gift that is now. To grow in the present is to bring healing to our past and to lesson our fears or anxieties for the future.

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Carlow Nationalist.
This column appeared on 22nd October 2008

Time for all of us seems to be a great burden. We may well be prisoners of time. From the time we rise in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at night, we may well find ourselves responding to the demands of time throughout the day. From the school bell, to a deadline from work many of us are seriously stressed and at times overwhelmed, because of the amount of events we try to engage with in terms of our time. Time fly’s by. Where has this year gone? There are two days in every week which we should not be worried about and yet days that perhaps take up a lot of our time with our fears and anxieties. Two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we may have said. Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow. With its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and perhaps it’s poor performance. Tomorrow is always beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn. This only leaves one day……. Today. Any person can only engage and be present to the events of one day. It is only when we may add the huge weight and anxieties of those two eternities – yesterday and tomorrow that we may break down.

It is rarely the experience of the present that overwhelms and causes deep personal anxiety. Often it may well be the pain or hurt that is carried yesterday that weighs us down and diminishes the quality of today. The dread of tomorrow, paying the arrears on a mortgage, getting ready for an exam, waiting for health results again can overwhelm and remove the quality of enjoying this present day.

One of the great spiritual movements throughout the world is the support and encouragement given and shared by those who are imprisoned by fear and addiction. A fundamental and important step on the road to recovery is to take one step at a time, day by day, in fact minute by minute. Many of us have a huge struggle in being present to this moment and fail as a consequence to taste and truly appreciate the very beautiful gift that is now. To grow in the present is to bring healing to our past and to lesson our fears or anxieties for the future.

An important step in order for our lives to be present to this day, this moment, is to “take time”. Make a conscious decision to go for a walk, sit down at the table for our meals and not run away in a hurry. Simply be aware of our breathing. I am reminded of the song “One day at a time, sweet Jesus”