If you are still wondering why many spiritual leaders emphasize living in the present, consider the following lesson.
Imagine the following scenario. You are driving in your car and you pull up to a red traffic light, in the turn lane to go left. There are two cars in front of you and a short line of cars behind you. Now stop to think. Remembering back during your lifetime, can you change what happened five years ago? How about three years ago? Maybe that’s too far back. Can you change anything that happened to you just six months ago? How about five minutes ago? Too far back? What about that car that recently drove up behind you. Can you go back and change what happened just one minute ago? How about one second ago, when you reached over and scratched your other hand. Can you change that?
Let’s go the other way. Can you predict with absolute certainty what will happen to you or anyone else in the world five years from now? What about one month from now? But that’s too much to ask. How about one second from now. Can you predict with absolute certainty what will happen one second from now? You might have an educated guess. You figure the light will turn green, the first car will start its turn, and you and the rest of the people in your lane will follow. There! You did it! You predicted with absolute certainty what will happen one second from now.
Or did you? What if the light doesn’t turn green? What if the traffic light malfunctions and your lane misses its turn? A thousand or more things can happen between now and one second from now. Maybe the first driver isn’t paying attention and is unable to go in time before the light changes again. Maybe the power grid fails. Maybe a crazed driver speeds into the intersection and causes a big accident. You really cannot predict with absolute certainty what is going to happen even half a second from now.
If you can’t change the past, and you can’t predict the future, it makes sense that there’s only one place where you can exist with absolute certainty. Now. The only space in time that you can exist is now, in this very instant. That is why you must always focus on the now. Don’t lament the past; don’t worry about the future. You cannot change the past and you cannot predict the future. But you can live in the now. It is the only place where you exist. The past is gone. You don’t exist in the past, anymore. You don’t exist in the future, because it isn’t here yet. Now is the only place you can ever be. So the answer to our question, “Why Now?” is: Because now is the only place you can be.