how to be present while planning for the future

If you can only have one thought at a time and can only be in one place at a time, can you plan for the future and still be present? Ever since Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now came out in 2004, it seems people are striving to become more present. You see and hear the advice everywhere.

“Be present”

“Live in the moment”

“Practice mindfulness”

Do we really understand what this means or better yet, what it looks like? How many times do we use the excuse that we are too busy to “stop and be present”? What is that costing us?

Time only exists in the present and thus makes it our point of power. It’s where we send out to the Universe our rockets of desire and can receive instant feedback on how aligned we are with our ultimate wishes. When we say, “I am” in the present tense, two of the most powerful words we can utter, we are declaring what is, even if it has not yet manifested into our physical experience.

Learning to be more present is a process that takes practice. We begin to keep a gratitude journal for appreciation for all that we already have. We set an intention to fully experience this moment whether it’s taking time to pet our cat, listen to the crickets or giving a friend or lover our undivided attention. The Law of Attraction states that what we think about and give our attention to is what we vibrate and what we ultimately attract to us. Your point of attraction, which is based on your vibration, is always in the present, not in the past nor the future.

This makes the practice of becoming more present serve us in so many more ways than in just living more fully by paying attention. It makes us deliberate creators versus creators by default from our habits and past experiences. When we tune in and become aware of how we are feeling, we can discern how we are vibrating, whether we are in alignment and thus what we are creating.

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.” — Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now

But, while life happens in the present, we still must plan for the future, which can sound like a contradiction. Can we be present and still plan for the future and if so, how do we not make the future more important than this red-hot moment?

I’ve identified six ways which may indicate you might not be present while planning for any sort of future event.

1) You are planning for something that you don’t think is possible or likely.

You saw a posting for your dream job and begin sending out your resume, but you feel there is lots of competition and can think of all the reasons why you won’t get it. Your vibration in the present is not in alignment for what you want for the future and creates resistance. You then create that which is unwanted. If you are excited and feeling good and hopeful about the future, you will be emitting that positive vibration now just by thinking about this future event. That allows it to come to you with much more ease than something in your future that seems unlikely. You are only as successful as your beliefs.

2) You are planning something to escape from a present situation.

You are moving to a new state and starting a new job because you have not been happy with your boss. Leaving seems to be the only way out. Are you creating something in your future to escape from where you are right now or is this something you are moving towards because it feels so good to imagine it in your life?

It is always a higher vibration and much easier to move towards something than to move away from something we are not happy with. This causes us to create resistance, which takes us out of alignment and holds us back from what we desire. You first need to be okay with where you are, which will get you where you need to be. You do not have to like where you are right now, just be at peace with it and accept what is. When you move towards something there has excitement and possibility along with the imagination of already having it, which to the mind, is the same as if it’s already here, you experience ease and joy in getting what you want. That vision will start drawing what you desire, towards you. Remember: “there is no there, there”. If you are not okay with where you in the present, you will just take that same energy with you and recreate it in another situation. If you are not happy now, you will not be happy in the future if you are planning/creating from that place of moving away from something as opposed to going towards something else. What we resist, persists.

3) You have no idea what you’d feel like when you get to this future place.

You have been thinking about moving from the city to a small town and found a listing for a great apartment to rent. It’s a major lifestyle change from what you are currently in so it’s basically all unknown. In order to close the energetic gap from where you are now to where you want to be, think of all the ways your life will be different, how you will act and what it will look like and start being that person now before it shows up. How would a person who already had what you are planning/desiring think, feel and act? Be that person now as much as you can to get in vibrational alignment. Act as if.

4) You are stuck focusing on what’s not working now.

You are unhappy in your relationship and can only focus on all the things that irritate you about your partner. Use that contrast to get clear on what you want. If there is something in your present life that you are not happy with, seize the opportunity to say “okay, here is what I do want” and then decide. Make it a done deal and then act as if it’s on its way.

5) You need for something to happen in the future for you to be happy.

You keep thinking that if only you had an additional $500 per month, your life would be so different, and you would be happy. You feel that until you find a way to earn or create that extra money, you will not be fully content.

When you wait for something to happen to be happy, that happiness always eludes you, as it will always remain in the future. You will feel the lack of it in your life now and that is where your focus will be. The best way to plan for a happy future is to be happy now. Sounds too easy? Think of how you would feel when this future thing shows up and find ways to feel that way now. Be creative and use your imagination to pretend if you need. The most important thing you can do to get what you want is to be happy now. Period.

6) You are sacrificing today by planning for the future.

You put off taking a vacation because you feel it is something that you will earn once you complete a project, save a certain amount of money, etc. The problem with this is that day may never come. When you deprive yourself from some joy in the present because you think you need to get what you want in the future, you are coming from a place of lack. When you have an abundance mentality, there will always be more of what you desire in the future and by taking pleasure in your present you are setting your vibration at the vibrational match of what you want in your future and more will come your way. Your life is now, not in the future. Create as much happiness and joy in your present and your desired future is as good as guaranteed.

Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming. – Alice Walker

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