There must be a thousand ways to not be present in this moment, or any other moment for that matter. The demands of work; taking care of our children, our homes and our cars; shopping; the Internet; recreation and hobbies; worrying about the future; dwelling on the past, especially past mistakes and betrayals. In my pre-illness state I was a darn good multi-tasker and proud of it. Eventually, I was like a car shifted into Park—with the accelerator pressed all the way to the floor. Just for the record: That causes breakdowns, physical, mental, and spiritual.

We come to Earth to learn about ourselves and our soul-connections with our Creator. The physical world provides us with concrete growth-opportunities not available in the invisible world from which we come. A lot of this personal and spiritual growth centers around our relationships with other people, for we truly are mirrors for each other. Unless we pause for reflection, though, we’re caught up in our zoom-zoom lives and we never bring our attention to right now.

Living in the now is an alternate way to be human. It is the opposite of the madness of deadlines and rushing to the next responsibility, which is so draining and unfulfilling. It is also the only way we can work our personal missions that we chose before birth. It is the path of joy and peace and compassion because, in seeing everyone and everything in the light, we shed the dark worries of the world. It is the way of joining with our higher selves (our God-selves) and with people to make a difference in the lives of others. It brings out the best in us, such as the response of those people who are in Haiti now to serve the survivors and help rebuild. We don’t need a disaster to live in this present moment, but emergencies do tend to snap us into the now.

It is our longing for more, for something deep and meaningful that causes us ultimately to stop and take up some form of quiet prayer and meditation to learn that we are no less than a son or daughter of God and that we came here to serve and to grow. Practicing kindness and purposeful-forgiveness are good places to start.