“Every day that passes is a precious day lost”

These are the words spoken by Frodo to Sam on their way to Morder to cast the ring into the fiery depths of mount doom. First a bit of context:

We find Frodo and Sam in a pretty dire situation unable to find their way to Mordor or choose the best way to get there. This is already after the breaking of the fellowship and the death of Boromir.

‘I wonder,’ said Frodo. ‘It’s my doom, I think, to go to that Shadow yonder, so that a way will be found. But will good or evil show it to me? What hope we had was in speed. Delay plays into the Enemy’s hands – and here I am: delayed. Is it the will of the Dark Tower that steers us? All my choices have proved ill. I should have left the Company long before, and come down from the North, east of the River and of the Emyn Muil, and so over the hard of Battle Plain to the passes of Mordor. But now it isn’t possible for you and me alone to find a way back, and the Orcs are prowling on the east bank. Every day that passes is a precious day lost. I am tired, Sam. I don’t know what is to be done.

The situation Frodo and Sam is in required haste. They are in a race, a race to mount doom. They need to move and move fast. One cannot waste a day as the enemy advances all the time. A day wasted being passive and with indecision is a day that goes towards the enemy.  Our lives might not be as wrought with danger as the lives of the fellowship, but the same lesson that can be learned. A day may represent an opportunity, or it may represent time. Time to prepare, time to get things done. When we waste it by not doing what needs to be done it is a day wasted.

It puts the focus on every day, to live in the now. In the present.

Every day that passes is a precious day lost

Seeing as I’m on a mission with my Eckhart Tolle book to learn how to be in the present this fits right in with my recent line of being and doing. If you are focused on the present and you manage to not let the past and future impact your current state of experiencing the now then you are taking full advantage of the  opportunities presented by the day.

An easy way to check if you are in fact living in the present, or simply ARE present is to become aware if you are constantly thinking of “what’s next”. I.e. you just arrived at a social gathering and all you can think of (whether you actually want to be there or not) is your next appointment or the next day? You’re at work and all you can think of is what happened over the past weekend? These are small but effective means to identify the ego. The ego lives and thrives in the past and the future.

Nothing brings you back to the present like a tough life decision that needs to be make quickly. Like Frodo and Sam.

Here’s a few pointers that can assist you in remaining present:

1. Unselfconsciousness

Strange that one of the things that helps you be present is not to think about it. Thinking too hard about what you’re doing or what you are saying actually makes you do worse. If you’re in a situation that makes you anxious—giving a speech, introducing yourself to a stranger, dancing—focusing on your anxiety tends to heighten it. Focus less on what’s going on in your mind and more on what’s going on in the room.

 

2. Stop thinking about the future too much while being in the present

Whenever we see a beautiful place we tend to already think or say “It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!”. It takes away from realizing that you are already here! We are here now yet we long for when someday will arrive so we can come again?

 

3.Make most of time by losing track of it

People that easily lose track of time are great examples of people that tend to be present rather naturally. This excerpt from psychologytoday:

Perhaps the most complete way of living in the moment is the state of total absorption psychologists call flow. Flow occurs when you’re so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you. Flow embodies an apparent paradox: How can you be living in the moment if you’re not even aware of the moment? The depth of engagement absorbs you powerfully, keeping attention so focused that distractions cannot penetrate. You focus so intensely on what you’re doing that you’re unaware of the passage of time. Hours can pass without you noticing. Flow is an elusive state. As with romance or sleep, you can’t just will yourself into it—all you can do is set the stage, creating the optimal conditions for it to occur.

 

4.If something is bothering you, move toward it

We all have pain in our lives. Scars left that all tell a story. This and minor things like a noisy neigbor or a traffic jjam can distract us from the enjoyment of life. Once again strangely the obvious response of focusing on the problem often makes it worse.

The solution is acceptance. Letting the emotion be there. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experienc without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.