In one of the daily meditation books that I read, I came across a quote that is familiar in its message to those in recovery from addiction who are guided by Twelve Step principles:
"The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs.' They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now. God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment be that moment hard or easy, joyful or painful." --Nouwen, Henri. (1994). Here and Now: Living in the Spirit. Crossroad Publishing Company, page 18.
Of course, the Twelve Step programs talk about living one day at a time, at first, suggesting that the newcomer not take a drink or a drug just for today (or maybe just for this hour). Eventually, experience in applying spiritual principles leads one to realize that attending to the present, to what is happening in the moment, can be the key to serenity. A favorite question I try to remember when I am pestered by fear of the future or pain from the past is to ask: What bad thing is happening at this very moment? Usually the question brings awareness that the issue bothering me is from the past or the future, resulting in perspective and distance from the problem and the opportunity to apply spiritual principles, such as turning the problem over to God (my source of spiritual strength).
Over time in recovery and experience in use of spiritual principles, I have found the Nouwen quote to be true. The hard part is remembering to seek God's help in the moment of emotional, physical, or spiritual upset.
As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams, 04/27/2016.