Updated: Mar 15, 2018
In the midst of emotional upset, utter these words even while hot tears stream down your face or anger clouds your vision. "Right now it's like this...."
Simple yet powerful, "Right now it's like this", is an affirmation that comes from the Buddhist Theravada teacher, Ajahn Sumedho and is a phrase that is quickly catching on. His most consistent advice can be paraphrased as to see things the way that they actually are, rather than the way that we want or don't want them to be.
This phrase gives us that crucial pause that is necessary to allow ourselves to RESPOND rather than to REACT in difficult situations. Without the pause we could easily find ourselves lashing out at the people we love, saying something cruel, doing something we later regret, or just avoid the situation altogether, none of which would do any good at all.
First and foremost, the phrase does two things:
1. It affirms that the situation is temporary. It won't always be like this.
2. It removes yourself from the situation and you become the observer. You dis-identify with the situation and you cease to take it personally, lessening it's effect on you and it's power to de-rail you.
On the FLIP-SIDE, and this is the most important part: We can use this phrase for when things are going wonderfully in our lives too. Let me explain.
Throughout life, we experience various highs and lows: the eternal ebb and flow. At times, we can feel like everything is falling into place perfectly. We experience a
so-called "Win". And during those times we can say to ourselves, "Right now, my life situation is like this. It's wonderful ... and so, I'm going to cherish this moment and TRULY enjoy it. But I will not attach to this good feeling as I know that everything in the universe is constantly changing. And so, this blissful moment won't last forever. And that's okay."
This is embracing reality. It may be true that your reality differs from everybody else's, but what remains the same, is the simple truth that we're not always going to win, and we're not always going to lose. The happiest people know this and embrace it. They give themselves permission to be human and experience the full range of emotion.
As Westerners, we seem to live on the premise that all of our desires are demanded to be met at all times... but that is not where true happiness lies.
The Buddha says, "The root of suffering is attachment." To experience happiness and contentment, we must be free from attachment to desirable experiences and free from aversion to negative ones.
Non-attachment doesn’t mean being cold as a stone. Emotions don’t cease to exist as you learn to let go. You just relate to them differently because you understand their ephemeral nature.
Non-attachment sets you free.
"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." ~Unknown
On the road to emotional balance, it is important to understand that we will be constantly challenged throughout our lives. Once we climb to the top of a mountain, we see we are at the bottom of another..... and so on to infinity. There are endless lessons to be learned in our lives and we may never "arrive" at the imagined future place of perfection.
That is why, it's so important to be in the present moment. Because if we're constantly wishing and waiting for the perfect life circumstances to feel peace and happiness, then our lives will have vanished before our eyes and we'll be 94 years old on our deathbeds telling a young nurse that we wished we had let ourselves be happy.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” ~Matsuo Basho
There are times when the present moment might not be a great place to be but you owe it to yourself to pay attention to it. Notice that it's not "Right now I'm like this"; rather it's an invitation to explore your experience in a dispassionate, yet interested way. That's the magic of the phrase, it means that you don't have to take any of it personally any more. "Right now it's like this" that's all. Just this. This tightness in the chest, this throbbing in the temple, this self critical thought, this impulse to retaliate. OK, it's there, I notice it. Right now it's like this.
I invite you to try using this affirmation next time life throws a curve ball at you. Say to yourself, "Right now it's like this".... bring your attention to the breath, allow the mind's chatter to settle... allow your heart and natural wisdom to guide you to the next moments of your life. There. It's simple. And it could change your life.
May all beings be happy.