This contemplation is very easy; all you have to do is jump into very cold water. February would be an ideal month. This contemplation is very difficult; you have to jump into very cold water!
Leap out as far as you can.
Where are you now? You are in the water. More importantly, where is your mind? In the same place as your body! When you plunge into the cold water your mind will not be caught up in past sorrows, nor will it be lost in future worries. Your mind will simply be thinking, ‘This is ****ing cold!’
The best place for your mind to be is always in the same place as your body, in the here and now. Why?
If your mind, like your body, is in the here and now then you are whole and undivided.
The past no longer exists. The future does not yet exist. If your mind is preoccupied with the past or the future then, in a sense, you have departed from reality.
Dwelling on the past creates unhappiness. Thinking about sad episodes in your past prolongs their hold over you. Repeatedly reliving happy episodes from your past is also unhelpful because those days are gone and you miss out on the present.
Preoccupation with the future creates anxiety and other forms of unhappiness. We must work now, you may argue, to create a brighter future. I disagree. We must work now to create a brighter now! Yes, you probably do have a future, but not the future you imagine. Why create the conditions for disappointment?
Now is the only moment we can influence.
Now is wonderful; don’t miss it. In very bad times now may not seem so good, but it always has at least one advantage over the past and the future: it exists!
You can’t jump into cold water every time your mind wanders off. But through regular practice of meditation you can gently train your mind to wander less and be more settled in the present moment.