We are all metaphysical time travelers. And that is not always to our benefit.
We ponder the past, worry about the future and rarely are present in the moment.
As a consequence of this time jumping we face frustration, anxiety and general suffering. What do we do with the past? We cannot undo what we have done or what has been done to us. Yet we continue to visit there and suffer each time. Our awareness lingers in the past, questioning our actions or the actions of others. Intellectually we understand that the past cannot be undone. But it doesn't stop us from being there.
Re-interpreting the past can be helpful. Applying techniques of cognitive / behavioral therapy can be healing. But we need to move our consciousness into the present moment.
Likewise, we conjure different complex scenarios regarding the future. We worry about every possible negative outcome. We worry about the future of loved-ones and ourselves. We worry about terrorism, the weather, the future of the planet.
If we consider what we worry about we may discover that it usually doesn't occur. Ironically our suffering often arises from sources we did not expect. So did worrying help at all? The answer is clearly no.
Now no one should disregard either the past or the future. There are valuable lessons we need to learn from our past failures and successes. Likewise we would be foolish not to plan and prepare for the future. Vigilance of the real dangers that surrounds us allowed our ancestors to survive as well.
Yet when we obsessively jump from past to future we risk missing the present moment.
The present has no real measure yet it is where all doing occurs. It constantly flows as we experience it. But we need to try to capture it, to savor it.
When we focus on being present in the moment we become aware of much more that surrounds us. Life gains an added element of meaning. We actually experience what is happening to us. Time slows down for us, for once. We come to realize that only being in the now can we feel safe. It is a refuge in which we can reach some degree of serenity and contentment.
Only by being present in the moment can we truly connect to another human being. Only in this way can we come to understand the content of our own minds. Only in the present moment can we possibly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
It is what makes the practice of meditation, contemplation, yoga, prayer etc so valuable. In those moments we cease being time travelers. We actually reside in that ephemeral moment in which everything occurs.