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When Not to “Be Here Now”

I'm just sayin'

The mainstay New Age advice “Be here now,” is great sometimes. It’s essential for things like meditation, children’s birthday parties, May in Vermont, not letting your relatives freak you out, and dying well.

In other cases, “here and now” is overrated. Here are some suggested situations in which it’s best not to be here now:

* Figuring out where you left your keys
* Writing a novel
* Anything involving dentistry or proctology
* Using credit cards (which are more safely used while imagining your future financial state in vivid detail)
* Playing chess
* Working on your dissertation on a gorgeous Spring day when the birds are singing and [fill in outdoor activity of your choice] is calling
* Crossing the street (it’s best to think ten or fifteen seconds ahead for this)
* When now is depressing and thinking about what you can achieve in the future is inspiring
* Walking through any place where you have happy memories
* Cleaning the cat box

I’m just sayin’.

Photo by cogdogblog



  1. Mark Dykeman  •  May 21, 2011 @9:11 am

    I was going to chime in with dentistry but I see you got that one.

    I’ll add waiting in line for more than two minutes for… anything.

  2. Luc  •  May 23, 2011 @9:42 am

    That’s a good addition. It occurs to me that there are probably good ways to be present in the moment even for the unpleasant stuff (for instance, for someone who has chronic pain issues, allowing oneself to feel the pain and let go of anxiety about it rather than distracting yourself from it), but it seems to me that this is most useful only if you’re doing kind of exploratory meditation. Certainly my mind is often off on something new given even 15 seconds of dead time, unless I decide to consciously use the time for meditation practice.

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