All the ‘good’ books, tell you to live ‘in the present moment’, which sounds like a really great idea. But, you can’t help but live in the present moment, because that is where you always are anyway, so, it is impossible NOT to BE in the present moment in ordinary attention.
Though, sometimes, in our present moment, we are reminiscing about the past, or dreaming about the future, you have to consider that this is just a quality of the present moment. ie, ‘in this present moment I am reflecting upon the past’. Since this comes so naturally to us, I have a hard time labeling it as ‘bad’.
Personally, I think we have to transcend the present moment. Sort of fly up and look down upon it from above. From that vantage point, you realize that it doesn’t matter what is taking place in your present moment. There is a larger context to consider.
The only analogy I can come up with is a book. A book has a first paragraph, and a last paragraph, and several other words and paragraphs and chapters in between. As you are reading the book, you are focused in on a particular chapter/paragraph/word of the story (your present moment). But, the story already exists, in a complete form; the beginning is set, the ending is known, it is sitting there, complete on your desk. You are just temporarily indexed into a specific section of it.
If you could zoom out and see the book on your desk, you’d know that every word is important to the paragraph, and every paragraph to the chapter, and every chapter to the book. And, there are all sorts of crazy things happening in all of these chapters, some good, some bad… but they are all part of the overall plot.
We can’t say that any behavior in the present moment is good or bad, because we don’t yet know the whole story. It could be, that in Chapter 3, it is necessary to reminisce about the past, so as to fill in the back story of the plot so that Chapter 4 makes sense.
The really interesting thing is that this story we are living has an infinite number of endings. At every moment, every decision we make branches down a different logic path and a different group of possible outcomes is selected. This is ‘Free Will’ in action. We’re choosing our path through the story line… but we can’t make a wrong choice. Every possibility has already been factored in… simply put, some stories will end more happily than others.
So dream of the future, or reminisce about the past, or walk through the beautiful woods and smell the air in the present moment! But whatever you do, pay attention to the story. That is all that is important. Don’t drift off and live life, like it is the TV, playing something in the background that you are not really paying attention to.