Some call it "clock time." The Greeks called it 'chronos,' which is a way of measuring time by noting movement. The movement could be the sun passing overhead, the sand in an hourglass gently falling, or the metronomic tick-tock of the hands on a clock. There are many ways humans measure time, but the fact remains that there is only one moment - this one.
Because we have the concept of passing time, we also have the concept of past and future. We learn to think in terms of history and the future. "What we did" or "What we will do." These are common thoughts and even expected. It's interesting to pause and consider that, although we can think about the past and future, we can only ever be in the present.
It's impossible to be in the past or the future. When we think about the past, we are making a guess as to what actually happened. We're not ever sure because we can't know everything that is happening from moment to moment. We piece the past together from bits of information that we gather - in the present.
The same holds true for the future. We guess as to what will be coming up. We're hardly ever right and when the present is not how we imagined it, we often are convinced that something went wrong. "This isn't how things are supposed to be!" "I thought they would be different - and now I'm upset!"
Yes, we can think of all kinds of scenarios to fill our need to know what happened in the past and what will be happening in the future. The reality is, these are always guesses. Our thoughts about everything, even the present, are collections of ideas, hunches, guesses, approximations, partial truths, etc. We don't really 'know' what is happening, we just imagine what is happening - or what happened or will happen.
Accepting that our life experience is contained within a 'range of possibilities' can be liberating. It helps us accept that there are always many ways to view a situation, for example. It helps us accept that others might have a different idea about what is 'happening.' It helps us remember that the past, present, and future are all open to interpretation, flexible and able to be shaped by our perspective and orientation.
Most of all, the idea of a flexible reality helps us remain open to the many possibilities that IS the world we live in. It reminds us that we use our minds to conceive of the world, not to 'know' it. Knowing is affected by the 'knower.' Being, on the other hand, is simply experiencing the sensations of life, not trying to shape a particular reality, but simply sensing that you are part of something - in relationship with everything.
A practice of sensing your own life experience in the eternal moment, not according to any ideas of the 'passage of time,' is one way to broaden your presence. Find yourself in this moment, over and over again. When your mind wanders to the past or future, simple say to yourself, "I'm thinking of the past (or future) and I am doing it now." This simple thought helps to acknowledge the activity of the mind so you (not your mind) can refocus on your current experience of being.
We never try to suppress the activity of the mind. Thought suppression is very difficult for most people and not necessary for achieving presence. Accept that your mind can be very 'busy' and produce a great amount of thoughts. This is not a problem unless you decide that it is. Let your mind do what it does and simply choose which of your many thoughts to follow, or not.
As you begin to notice and accept your thoughts, you might find that you do not repeat the same thoughts as much. If you do repeat thoughts (and most people do) it's OK. Allow the mind to work as hard as it wants without getting swept up in its activity. You are always able to connect with the present moment and experience the beauty and peace that surounds and flows through you.
Blessings to you my friends,