There is no past. Only present

When attending a game as a sports journalist there are certain rules and expectations. For instance, there is no cheering in the press box. Reporters are expected to watch the game with a critical eye. They are also expected to stay until the end of the game.

Which is why attending the game as a fan is a treat. Sitting in the stands at a college basketball game, my attention can be diverted from the play-by-play. I can watch play away from the balls. Or watch how the player and coaches on the bench interact and react. Or I can miss the action entirely and enjoy the atmosphere.

Without the list of “things to do” while wearing my reporter fedora (posting blogs at every official timeout, keeping my own stats, formulating storylines and preparing post-game interview questions) I have the opportunity to relax and catch things I otherwise would have missed.

On Tuesday, I enjoyed that return to fandom by taking in the University at Buffalo women’s basketball game. Sitting behind the Buffalo bench, I had the chance to catch part of a halftime conversation between a player and one of the spectators.

I’m not sure who the person was, or the topic of their conversation, but I thought I heard the phrase, “There is no past. Only present.”

I could be mistaken. It could have been an auditory hallucination or I could have misunderstood in the jumble of the music and other affiliated halftime noise. Still, the phrase resonated with me. Ever overhear something and think the universe actually intended that message for you?

There is no past. Only present.

In the context of a game, forgetting the last half, even the last play, is critical to moving forward. It doesn’t matter if it was a great play or another turnover, what matters is the action in that moment.

In my swim workout, a set of 10 100-yard sprints is about each individual sprint. Not the one I just did. Not the first one. Not the set I did on Monday. I can only swim one 100-yard sprint at a time.

Sounds like a duh-squared moment, right? Take it one day at a time? What, are two or three days at a time an option?

It is if we live that way in our head.

We are defined by our past only if we continue to keep ourselves there. And the irony is, we are never in the past. We are always in the present. But often we keep our attention focused on the past, sometimes projecting the past into the future.

Perhaps it’s not about making the absolute most of every moment. Frankly, that sounds really big and really exhausting. To make every single moment meaningful is a daunting proposition.

But it’s different when thinking about being present. About being in this spot, right now. It’s not about what I do. It’s about where I am.

There is no past. Only present.

What would my experience of life look like, feel like, if I truly believed that statement? What would I suddenly be capable of?

What a wonderful and powerful concept to ponder.

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