I was teaching a yoga class this week and was sharing a portion of Eric Schiffmann’s work “Moving into Stillness”. The paragraph I was reading had to do with shifting from thinking mode into feeling mode to live in the now. I love this precept and many of the students did as well.
Afterwards a student came up to me and said, “I don’t like that idea of living in the now.”
I laughed, mentioned yes it can be a struggle and went to the washroom. While I was in there I started wondering what she really meant. I had to find out.
“What did you mean by that?” I asked.
“Well, my Mom had Alzheimer’s disease and she lived every moment in the now.” She replied. “She only knew the now, no past, no future. We were thankful on some levels because when we told her my dad (her husband) had died she simply said oh that’s too bad. There was no pain, no recollection. It could have been anyone who died. But then we’d say things like I love you Mom and she’d say I love you back without even knowing who we were.”
It was then time to teach meditation and my mind was still whirling from the 5 minute conversation.
“Is living in the now important?” I asked the group.
“Oh yes,” was their vibrant response.
“I don’t know of any other way to live!” replied another.
“Is living in the now a bad thing?” I was still trying to get my mind around how the ‘now’ could be bad beyond dealing with the obvious issues of the disease.
“Is this a trick question?” asked one.
I told them I would explain in a moment, as I was simply working on figuring a conversation out, but was very curious what they thought about living in the now.
“That’s the bad thing with kids then,” Suggested another student. “They are always spending all of their time focusing on what to do in the future.. planning, planning and more planning so they never live in the now.”
“Not that you are wrong,” I explained. “But planning is a necessity. It is about being present with what they are doing.”
Then a lightbulb went off!
“That’s it! We have to be present. Someone with Alzheimer’s is not present. They are not even ‘in there’ for the most part.
So instead of thinking of living in the now maybe we need to shift this for some and say be present in the now. Our gift of presence is key. Whew.. took me awhile, but now I’ve got it! I’ll have to remember to pass this along to her.