Four Tips to be in the Now

Bollywood movies of the eighties used to confound me.  This was partly because I didn’t get the dance sequences and also the plotline didn’t make sense to my young mind.  The story usually goes:  Once upon a time there is a hero (age 10 years) who, with his parents and siblings, lives in a community that is exploited by the villain.  As the hero grows up, he constantly keeps the past in his heart and grows up to be an angry young man, waiting to take revenge on the villain.  Fast forward 10 years.  The villain, by now sixty years old and completely unconcerned with the fact that he wronged a whole village, continues to enjoy a selfish, luxurious life.  The hero, now an angry young man, is waiting to right the wrong done to his community.  A lot of fight scenes ensue and, of course, a lot of dancing around trees until, finally, by the movie’s end, after indulging himself all his life, the villain is brought to justice and killed instantly.
Did you notice a warped sense of justice in the above scenario?  I always used to wonder:  “How is it justice if the villain didn’t suffer or didn’t even remember he wronged someone or didn’t have any hardship in life?”  Now I wonder:  “How can you be a hero when all your youth was spent angry, vengeful, and dredging up the past?”  Anyway, it seems to me that there are four things those Bollywood heroes didn’t understand about being in the now:
1.  When we hold anger or vengeance or any other negative feelings in our heart, we become incapable of experiencing joy.
2.  Lose the story in your head, like this:  “This happened to me in the past and what will happen to me in the future, etc., etc.”  As long as there is a story, there is no now.
3.  We hear it said:  Living well is the best revenge.  Let’s take it a step further and learn to put a period to negative and wasteful thoughts.  This is the best way to live well.
4.  The self experiences real freedom when the mind is steady in the now.  This is when we are truly and deeply happy.  When we are really happy, the heart dances – maybe even like those dance scenes in Bollywood movies!

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