We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future.
We have no present.
Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience.
We are therefore out of touch with reality.
We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.
― Alan W. Watts (Become What You Are, 1955)
I love the idea of NOW and being present in the moment. I've even managed to do so on many occasions. But I get confused about how reflection and planning fit into this idea of NOW.
The only place we can physically be is HERE & NOW, but we have minds. And those minds can wander off all over the place.
I feel that we should use those minds - to reflect on past mistakes, successes and problems to help us manage the stuff that pops up NOW. Those fickle minds can also help us plan for and imagine a future so that we can set up stuff NOW that might be useful later on. In another NOW.
Being HERE & NOW is peaceful, but is it practical?
We cannot relive our memories or inhabit the future, but can we not experience happiness NOW by remembering some of those sweet times past and dreaming about the ones to come?
If NOW is all we have, what's the point of having a memory and an imagination?