Chapter 3 Lessons Learned:
Living In The Now
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How much time do you spend living in the now? Have you ever noticed that you can spend so much time reliving something that happened in the past that you all of a sudden seem to wake up, and wonder where the day went? You ended up spending hours and hours brewing over some past injustice, or some conversation that happened and it could have been YEARS before. As you may have heard me say, I believe that if you look at the past correctly, you can benefit greatly. But have you ever known someone who just seems to go over the same territory again and again? And they’re not looking for a solution, or a lesson. Instead, it’s like they are watching the same video over and over again of what happened, and pointing out the same negative things again and again with more intensity. Maybe you know someone like this intimately? One of the things that people don’t understand is the affect that reliving these experiences over and over has on you in the present moment.
I mentioned this early in the book and in the SA 101 videos that your mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is vividly imagined. Although your mind is powerful beyond measure, it also works the same way that a computer does in the sense that it can only process the information that it is given, or retrieve the exact information that you request. Other than that, it has no concept of “time” as we know it. Your mind is constantly in the now. So when you relive an experience, when you go back and see those things again, or hear those words, and feel those feelings, your mind is taking it as a new occurrence in the present.
Now many of you are saying to yourself, “Come on Will, I’m smarter than that. My mind knows if something is real or just a memory.” Ok, let’s test it for a moment. I want you to take a moment right now and imagine that you have a bowl of fruit in front of you. Just imagine all of your favorite fruits and how they would look. You might find yourself focusing on one specific fruit that you like the most. You can see the apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, lemons, limes, bananas and whatever else you might like to have in your bowl of fruit. Notice all the amazing colors as these fruits form the perfect fruit basket. Now, I want you to imagine reaching into that big bowl of fruit. And pick out a nice, yellow lemon. And I need you to imagine that you are carrying that lemon over to your kitchen sink, and see yourself as you pull out a sharp knife. Now I want you to notice what happens when you cut that lemon in half. Notice the way that the lemon sprays as you cut through the outside of it and down through the center cutting it in half. Remember the way that it releases that lemon scent when you cut open a lemon? Now, I need you to pick up one half of the lemon, and now cut it in half again so you have two quarters. And again, notice how the lemon sprays when you cut it. Now, pick up the lemon and notice how the rind of the lemon gets that shine to it after you have just cut it. And now, I need you to stick that lemon into your mouth and bite down on it.
Ok, honestly, how many of you just had a buildup of saliva as you imagined biting down on that lemon? Many people I know start salivating as soon as I mention the lemon. So let me ask you this. Did you bite that lemon in reality, or was it just your imagination? Unless you decided that a lemon sounded like a good idea and you walked away to get one, I am willing to hallucinate that you only imagined the whole process. And I am also willing to hallucinate that over 95% of you had a buildup of saliva at some point of my mentioning the lemon, and some of you had a major physiological response when you imagined biting into it.
Think about this for a moment. You just had a physical response to an imaginary experience. Your mind was not able to tell the difference between what you were truly experiencing and what you were simply thinking about. Your mind took that experience that you were simply thinking about as being something so real that it created changes in your physical body as a reaction to that imagined experience.
Do you think that, just maybe, the way you have been reliving some of these past experiences may be reaffirming the result you perceived as being negative and making it even truer for you? Because when most of us relive something, we are not reliving the lesson, we are retelling the experience, and in doing so, reaffirming to ourselves both consciously and unconsciously that “X” happened, and “Y” was the result. Therefore, in the future when “X” happens our unconscious will automatically foresee that “Y” will be the result. Even though in this specific situation “Y” may not be the result, we will prepare ourselves for “Y” with “Y” being something like, failure, rejection, or pain. Does this make sense?
This is how we keep repeating self-destructive patterns. We have conditioned ourselves over time to believe that the past equals the future. Because in our mind we have relived the past so many times, and seen the same outcome so many times that we automatically associate that the outcome will always be the same.
There are very few people that I know who have mastered living in the now. Yet, you know what is so amazing? It is all we truly have. The most celebrated prophets and greatest leaders, the Masters of religions and philosophy have stated it again and again, in different ways, that truly exists is the now. The moment that passed when you read that last word - is gone. It’s never going to return again. No matter how badly you want to, you can’t go back and relive that moment in time, or recapture it again, no matter how hard you try, or how much money you have to spend – it is gone. That moment and every moment since have passed. All that remains is a memory. Now if you really take a moment to stop, and think about that, this is an amazing opportunity. When you realize that the past is truly gone. When you finally understand that it was only a moment in time, and it no longer truly exists. When you accept that it is only a memory, you now have power. Not only is it just a memory, but it is a memory from only your perception.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the intensity of “what happened”, we forget that what we perceive as having happened is only one possibility. The old adage is true; there are always three sides to every story; yours, mine and the truth.
I want to take a moment to expand on that. When I speak of the truth, it does not mean that your side or my side is wrong, but that it is only a perception, and only one of many perceptions. At the highest level there is a truth that you and I cannot completely understand at this moment in time. When I say that, I mean that we cannot judge with any certainty, what the whole meaning of that occurrence will be. We cannot from our place of such a limited view see how that single event will touch others through its rippling effects. Therefore, I call the third side, “truth”, meaning its highest vision, including all possibilities and all connections to the event.
When a person chooses to look back, I hope that it is in the effort to learn from the experience, or maybe to look at it from a different perspective. Have you ever had an experience happen, that while you were going through it, you felt like you were in hell? Then sometime later, maybe it was even very soon after the event, you were able to look back and see a whole new world of possibilities arise from it? New opportunities? Maybe even accepting that another person’s perception could have been right and yours was wrong? Or maybe you even look back on it now and laugh?
These are the best ways to use our past. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that I speak so much of creating ourselves in the moment and designing our future… this doesn’t mean that I totally discount the power of the past. What I think creates the challenge is the way most people deal with their past.
The first section of this book was based on my past, and I hope that by this point you understand the reasoning for it. It was written to both give you a reference point for what experiences I have brought to this writing, and to hopefully show you places along the way where dramatic turns were made. If one person can find themselves in these pages, stop, and move in a new direction, then all the experiences I have personally gone through have been worthwhile and the book’s purpose will have been served.
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The Warrior Sage Part 2: Lessons Learned Chapter/SectionLessons Learned Through Sacred ScarsChapter 1: Understanding The Power Of The Sub-Conscious MindChapter 2: Discovering Peace
Chapter 3: Living In The NowChapter 4: The Gift Is In The Present MomentChapter 5: It's About ChoicesChapter 6: Understanding ChangeChapter 7: The Power Of ModelingChapter 8: Being Human - What Does It Mean?Chapter 9: The Cost Of Living A Dual Life
The Warrior Sage: Sacred Scars Chapter/SectionWho Is Willard Barth?Author's NotesPreface - Exploring Strength And WeaknessChapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-AwarenessChapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child DevelopmentChapter 2:1 The World Changed ForeverChapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle BeginsChapter 2:3 Losing FaithChapter 2:4 My Dark SecretChapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol DependenceChapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood BehindChapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride EndsChapter 3:5 Living A Duality BeginsChapter 3:6 Out Of ControlChapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To InsanityChapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking BeginsChapter 3:9 Facing The MusicChapter 3:10 A New BeginningChapter 3:11 More Lessons To LearnChapter 4:1 The Final PartyChapter 4:2 A Moment Of ClarityChapter 4:3 My New Life BeginsChapter 4:4 Sober, Time To Face The WorldChapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year TwoChapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's BirthChapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice InsideChapter 5:3 The Empress HotelChapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life BeginsChapter 6:1 Finding My Way HomeChapter 6:2 Falling Into PlaceChapter 6:3 A New AwarenessChapter 6:4 Personal Finances and Personal DevelopmentChapter 6:5 The George Washington StoryChapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can GrowChapter 6:7 The Wrap Up
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