Why pay attention to the present?

Contribution by Esteban Rojas Nieto

Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

We live by reacting.  And we do it with our thoughts that constantly judge what is happening.  These assessments are accompanied by an incessant inner chatter that does not only weaken and numb us but also feeds our anxiety and suffering.  In living by reacting our opinions are sustained by our past experiences, which shape our responses to memories and not by what is really happening.  This routine of responding automatically does not only cause us lots of misunderstandings but also prevents us from learning from the life we lead.  Our reactive behaviour sets the scene for what happens in our imagination produced by our thoughts that serve to confuse what we imagine with reality.  Living by reacting traps us in the past and robs us of the opportunity to become aware of the reality that flows from moment to moment.

Living by reacting strengthens our attachment to an identity sustained by our memories, this brings permanent conflicts produced by the resistance that we create by not accepting that reality is not as we imagine it.  Living by reacting reinforces our habits that are based on repetition.  This automatic repetition of responses leads us to react according to old habits and not based on reality.  This confusion is a cause of conflict, since we do not accept reality as it is, but want it to fit with how we imagine it should be.  In this way our lives are transformed into a struggle with life. 

Overcoming the suffering that is produced by our living REACTIVELY is our responsibility.  Overcoming the suffering that is produced by our living by RESISTING the reality that we cannot change, is our responsibility.  Overcoming the suffering that is produced by living by WANDERING is our responsibility.  Overcoming the suffering that is produced by living ANXIOUSLY is our responsibility.  Overcoming the suffering that prevents us from LEARNING FROM THE LIFE we lead is our responsibility.  Overcoming the suffering that is produced by our living by CONFUSING WHAT WE IMAGINE WITH REALITY is our responsibility.

We can take responsibility for our health and that of the world that surrounds us by focussing our attention on what we experience.  One thing that has to be accepted is that paying attention deliberately to what we experience as a solution to our suffering can only be ACHIEVED INDIVIDUALLY, only I can pay attention to what I experience.  Only I can take responsibility for my life.  So because of all that, I ask myself: Why pay attention to the present?   As an Individual, I respond that I do it in order to be aware of my life and to overcome the suffering inflicted by living a distracted life and thereby to contribute to overcoming the suffering of all people.