I received some very good questions from someone recently, and it seemed that it might be helpful to share the answers in a blog post. So here they are, with my answers below:
Q: I am now on my second time through your book Embracing the Now. I have a couple questions that hopefully you can help me with. How does soaking in the moment and having hopes, dreams, goals, etc. work together? I see that you are active and writing books, but how does that come about if you are observing life and just being?
Being present in the moment isn't just a matter of just being, soaking in the moment, and observing life. Being in the Now and living in the Now is not a passive experience but includes action. When we are present in the moment, we become aware of the urges, impulses, and inspirations to move, speak, and take action and we follow those impulses. These movements and actions come from Essence, our deepest self (not the ego) and move us forward in our life if we notice them and allow them to move us. So being present is not just a matter of being and observing life but also of moving in response to Life—to how we are called to move, act, and speak. Being present is a way of being and living that is quite different from following the egoic mind’s suggestions about what to do and how to be. Those suggestions and ideas are primarily conditioning and not necessarily true and wise, although following this conditioning is how most people live.
When we are present in the moment, we don't need the ego’s hopes, dreams, or goals to motivate or guide us because we are guided intuitively moment to moment by something much deeper than our egoic thoughts. Hopes, dreams, and goals are often our egoic mind’s idea of how we should live. However, some of our dreams and goals come from a deeper place—from Essence. We feel them deeply in our soul, and they move us to fulfill them. We feel them and we might then think about them, but these deeper goals arise from deep within us, not from our mind. They do not originate in the mind. These deeper dreams and goals are worth pursuing, and we are guided intuitively in pursuing them moment to moment.
We all have inner drives that move us to fulfill our unique life purpose. These drives are felt, and intuitions are given to us to help us move in the direction of fulfilling our life purpose. If we are constantly lost in our egoic mind (the voice in our head), we might not notice these drives and intuitions or we might think they are meaningless and that only our thoughts are important and real. But our thoughts often take us in a different direction than our inner knowing and drives, and that can lead to an unhappy life, depression, and even physical illness. Our true being speaks to us intuitively and through urges, drives, inspiration, while the ego speaks to us through the egoic mind—our thoughts. We know when we are aligned with the true inner voice because we feel happy and joy. When we are listening to the egoic mind, however, and it is at odds with this inner voice, we often feel unhappy, afraid, frustrated, or limited. The egoic mind would have us follow shoulds and other conditioning, but that is often not where our true joy is. When conditioning is at odds with our Heart, it is important to follow our Heart, our joy. The voice in our head is not a good or useful guide for how to live life. It is simply the voice of conditioning, not the voice of wisdom. The voice of wisdom comes through intuitively. If it comes through as a thought (which is not common), it feels uplifting and joyful, not negative or fearful. The egoic mind is generally a negative and limiting voice.