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Being aware of the present moment simply means you never believe the illusion that the future is going to be better than what is going on right now.” – Mateo Tabatabi

While studying works of great teachers like Lord Byron, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, Abraham and Buddha, I’ve constantly come across the same message: be in the present moment. But what does that really mean? The concept that I have been concentrating on recently, “It doesn’t get better than this,” is closely related to that message and has become an amazing tagline for how to live my life.

This week, we’ll dig into what it really means to be here, now. I’ll explain how you can transform your thinking from thoughts like, “When I have this or that… life will be better,” to being able to enjoy the things you think you’re lacking, right now. Don’t miss this episode full of inspirational ways to help you change your mindset and stop looking outside of yourself for what makes you happy.

What you will discover

  • The importance of being in the present moment.
  • What it really means to be here, now.
  • How you can be in the present moment and still plan for the future.
  • How to experience the ever-elusive future promise of happiness or the “good old times” right now.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

Welcome to The Life Coach School podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hey, everybody, what's up? I am so happy that you're here. I am so happy that I'm here. I'm so happy that we're here together. I've been getting so many awesome emails and posts on Facebook and on the comments about how much you guys are loving this podcast and that makes me so happy.
I'm so glad that you're benefiting from it. I'm really enjoying doing it. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it because I get so many great connections with all of you and how much it's influencing you. I really appreciate it.
I also want to give a huge shout out to any of you who have written a review. Again, we are rocking it out on new and noteworthy on iTunes and it's because you guys have been downloading my podcast and listening to it, but also because you've been giving me really awesome reviews. I love you guys, thank you so much for taking the time. I know it's kind of a pain to do that and there's really no reason why you have to do it and you're just doing it for me and I just love it. Thank you, I really appreciate it.
One of the things I wanted to do was reply to an email that I received from a beautiful gorgeous listener who likes what I have to say about managing the mind and how really managing the mind can help with our negative emotion. She really likes the idea of it, but she says that I make it sound very easy and because she suffers from depression it's not easy for her. She's been diagnosed with depression and she knows that there's a chemical imbalance in her body and she's wondering if my coaching can apply to her.
I want to address it because I think it's so important. I think it's a brilliant question and I want to address it because I know that she's probably not the only one that has it. My answer is yes and my answer is also I think that depression is a very real thing. We put it in the circumstance line whenever we do a thought model on it.
We do not negotiate that depression isn't a real thing because it absolutely is. It's a very serious, and can be very debilitating, thing. There are levels of depression that are not fully treated with life coaching and require psychiatry and psychotherapy.
That being said, I've worked with many clients that have suffered from depression and have worked with a therapist and have also worked with me and found that the life coaching techniques in conjunction with the medication in conjunction with psychiatry have been very helpful. The way that I look at it is that depression is something that you have right now. It's something that you're experiencing and it's very real. How you decide to think about that depression will make it worse or will make it better.
That's where I think the life coaching can really come in. What I mean by make it better, I don't mean cure it and make it go away, I just mean negative thoughts on top of depression can make the exhaustion and the pain of it worse. Having lighter and more peaceful thoughts about having depression can make it better. I've seen it happen thousands of times.
What I want to suggest to you, my beautiful wonderful amazing listener, is that you choose to think about your depression in a way that serves you. You don't use it as a reason to beat yourself up or think that there's something wrong with you or think that you'll never not be depressed. Actually look at your depression as something that's here to teach you something, that maybe you are exhausted from the resistance of trying to feel and that there are answers for you and that you can find a way in each moment to be in acceptance and peace. If you keep listening I will do my best to offer more insight on how you can manage your mind while, at the same time, dealing with the very real issue that you are dealing with, which is depression.
I hope that helps. If it doesn't you email me again and I will get back to you and I will talk to you. If any others of you have questions for me feel free to email me. My email is [email protected]. You can also access any of my show notes and information by going to my website, which is thelifecoachschool.com/ whatever number episode you're on. This is episode 9, so to go to the show notes for episode 9 you'd go to thelifecoachschool.com/9.
Today I'm going to talk to you about the concept that it doesn't get better than this. This is something that I have been working on a lot in the past couple of months. It seems like about every year I adopt a new thought.
I remember when my new thought was it was always meant to happen this way. I really used that thought as a way to reconcile my past and move forward with some of the past focus that I was dealing with. I'm going to talk about past and future focus in a future episode so stay tuned for that.
This new thought that I have, it doesn't get better than this, is a mind-blower for me. This one has been huge. The other one that I had was nothing is too good to be true. I read that in a book years ago and it blew my mind. I loved that idea of nothing is too good to be true and I spent a lot of time really practicing and working with that thought.
My thought now is it doesn't get better than this. One of the things that I have always struggled with, even as a life coach, and I study this stuff all the time and I read all about it. I've studied the work of Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle and Abraham and Buddha. One of the consistent messages, Marianne Williamson, one of the consistent messages that I've gotten from all of my teachers is be in the present moment.
I've always thrashed against that because what if my present moment sucks. What if I don't want to be in my present moment. What if I just want to get out of my present moment and you're telling me to just be present in my present moment when I just want to take action and get out of it.
I've always been action oriented and I've always felt that I'm a pretty powerful person and I can control my own life and I can get myself into better moments. Sometimes that is true, but I've taken this concept to a whole new level since I did a recent master coach training with 11 of my students.
I took them through master coach training and in that training, it's a very rigorous training, we have to read six books in six weeks. One of the books that I had us read, and I haven't read any of the books when I assign them so we read them together and we study them together, and one of the books that I had the students read was called Mind-Made Prison. It's by Mateo Tabatabai and I'm totally butchering his last name. I apologize for that.
The Mind-Made Prison was such an amazing book. I absolutely loved it. As we were going through the course one of the students, Jenny Row, one of the master coach students, brought to my attention a quote from the book. It reads like this, it says, "Being aware of the present moment simply means you never believe the illusion that the future is going to be better than what is going on right now."
Okay, did that blow your mind. It totally blew our minds. She brought it up and I had to read it twice. I'm going to read it one more time to you so you can really hear what this guy is saying. "Being aware of the present moment simply means you never believe the illusion that the future is going to be better than what is going on right now."
If you've been listening to this podcast for a while you know that one of my main teachings is awareness and being conscious in this present moment and being aware of what's going on. This concept takes it deeper. It takes it, not only are we aware of our present moment, but we're also aware that it doesn't get better than this. There is no moment that is better than another moment.
If you're going, what? I'm with you. If I'm in the dentist office I'm pretty sure that moment is not my best moment and when I'm at the DMV I think that's not my best moment. All of these teachers are telling me that, you know... One of my favorite teachers is that Eckhart Tolle and he says, "realize deeply that the present moment is all you have". Make now the primary focus of your life, be here now. Breathe into this moment, right?
I've heard this for years and I've always thought, yeah it's a nice concept. I do yoga every day. In yoga they're always saying let your mind be here now. I'm like my mind is so entertained by what's going on at work and I'm thinking right now about what's going on with what my husband and I are going to be doing later. That's going to be so fun, we're going out on a date. I'm thinking about the cute thing that my son said and that seems to be more enjoyable for my brain and for me to think about than this present moment where I'm standing here in a pose that's hurting my legs.
If you're anything like me you understand this, right? That being in the present moment is some airy, fairy meditative idea that I have a challenge really doing. The way that this was written in this book really resonated with me. I summed it up with the thought it doesn't get better than this and I really have been thinking a lot about that.
What does that mean? If it's not going to be better than this, if this moment is the best it's ever going to be and the next moment is the best it's ever going to be, what does that mean to me in my life? I have really had to reconcile that. One of the things that I know that is true from all of the work that I've done is that our capacity for happiness has nothing to do with anything going on externally.
Joy and happiness come from what's going on in our minds. If that's true all thoughts are available to me in this moment then there is no future moment where I will have the ability to have more capacity for joy than I have right now. My capacity for joy is at full capacity from the minute I'm born.
The only thing that holds me back from experiencing joy is my brain and from thinking thoughts that block my joy. Stay with me on this. If I think that all of my capacity for joy is here now and no matter what changes in my external world, the only thing that will ultimately change joy and how I feel is how I think.
If I think about more success, for example, and I think about maybe my business being even more successful than it is now and I think that will make me happier, I have to remind myself, wait, no that won't make me happier. If I go back to my own teachings, to my own learnings, to my own beliefs I believe that what makes me happy is my thinking and whatever thought I'm going to have when I'm more successful is a thought that I could actually have right now.
Then my mind exploded and then I thought this moment right now is as good as it will ever get in terms of my ability to think thoughts. The only thing that will change is my external world. The only thing that might change is that some circumstance in my life. The only thing that really, ultimately, is going to bring me happiness is the thought I have in that future moment.
I've always believed, even when you think about Eckhart Tolle, he talks about being in the present moment and yet he has this multi-million dollar business going on and he's written all sorts of books. Being in the present moment to him doesn't mean that he doesn't think about the future. He totally thinks about the future in this present moment but what Eckhart doesn't do, and this is one thing I've wrapped my mind around lately, is he doesn't believe that by planning for that future moment that future moment will be better than this one.
Even though he's creating and even though he's writing books and planning and going on Oprah and all of those things, in his mind he's not saying, ooh I'm going trade this moment for some future moment. We're often trading our happiness in this moment for some future moment we believe will be better or even some past moment we thought was better. Really our capacity for joy is always the same in both of those moments.
Just because I'm planning to write a book or I'm planning on being more successful, I'm planning on making more money, I'm planning on meeting new people, that's all fantastic. I don't sacrifice by telling myself, oh that's when I could be happy by denying myself happiness now.
Are you guys following this because it blows my mind even when I'm talking about it to you right now. This is something that I do sometimes. I think oh when I have that then it'll be better. When I don't have so many things on my plate, when I've completed that project then I'll be able to breathe easier. Then I'll be able to be at more peace. When my kids are out of school then I'll be able to do something differently than I'm doing now.
I'm sure you guys do the same thing. What if that's just a story we're telling ourselves? What if really we could have whatever we think would be better in the future we actually could have right now. The reason why I think things will be better when I complete a project is because then I won't be working on the project. By believing that I'm resisting working on the project now. It's almost like I'm not enjoying that process.
I really get that now. I really understand that by believing a future moment will be better than this moment I am deluding and missing out on this moment. Believing that this moment is horrible and that some future moment will be fantastic as soon as this horrible moment is over, I'm missing the experience of being fully present and alive without judging this moment.
That has made my life incredibly more dynamic by understanding that. Now knowing when my brain wants to go to some future moment and entice me to deny this moment in sake of that one I'm like, aha, I'm onto you. I am onto you.
In order for me to even have a future moment that's as amazing as this one I have to learn how to appreciate this amazing moment. Otherwise when I get to that "future moment" I for sure will be denying that moment for some sake of some future moment.
I heard someone talking the other day and it really brought this all home for me. They were talking about how, it was on an interview, and they were talking about how when they were really struggling in the early days of their career that those were the good old days. They were talking about them in a way that there was such an ambition and grittiness and rawness to the work they were creating.
During that time, of course, they didn't see it that way. They saw that time as the time that they were hoping for some better moment and then they get to the better moment, which this artist was at now, and they were looking back at that moment and seeing what a great moment that was. Because he wasn't conscious in that moment, he wasn't aware of how great it was, he missed out on it.
You guys have heard people talk about this all the time. It's like remember when we could only afford, you know, to buy that clunky old car, ah those were the good old days. That was when it was really sweet and we didn't have these other things to worry about.
I think we can all relate to that in our own lives when we look at our past and we think oh if we only could have appreciate that body we had when we were 18. If only we could have appreciate when we were kids and we didn't have to really worry or take care of ourselves. In those moments we didn't have the ability to appreciate that. I wonder now if I get to some future moment will I look back and go ah remember that, that was so great, and you missed it because you were so busy thinking about, oh it'll be better when I have more clients or when I have more friends, or when I have more money, or when I have less fat on my body.
When I think about my weight loss clients and really helping them appreciate the body that they're in and they want to resist this moment. They want to get to the part where they're skinny and they want to miss the part where they're overweight. If often tell them, you won't ever get to that moment where you're fully accepting of your body until you get to that moment where you're fully accepting of your body. That doesn't happen because your body changes, it happens because you make a decision.
We think we accept our body thinner because it's better, but really all we've done is change our opinion of it. That's why we feel so much better. We can do that now and in fact if we do it when it isn't based on external circumstances we will find a way of managing ourselves in the present moment where it doesn't matter what's happened externally. It doesn't matter if we've gained weight or lost weight, we can still own our own joy because your capacity for joy does not increase the thinner that you get.
Your capacity for joy is the exact same right this minute as it is when you've lost 10 pounds, when you've lost 20 pounds, when you've lost 50 pounds. When you look to be happier, when you look to have more joy, know that the reason why you believe you'll be happier is because you're thinner, but that is not true. The reason you are happier when you are thinner is because you give yourself permission to be happier. That's just a mind blower, isn't it?
Even as I say it I'm like whew. I remember believing when I was still overweight that I could be happy and that happy was better than thin. I remember when I really go that and, of course, once I got that my body was able to release the weight, but not until I got that moment.
I want to share a little bit more from the Mind-Made Prison because I think it's so awesome. It's because a question I get a lot of time is because I'm very future focused and I really help my clients plan and create their future they often say to me how do you reconcile that with being in the present moment. I say, the way that I answer that is I saw well I am in the present moment when I'm planning my future and I don't trade this moment or believe that this moment is less valuable based on the goals I have in my future.
He sums it up beautifully in his book. He says, "Plan, dream, and organize all you want, just don't start believing that what you have planned for the future is going to be any better than your current moment. You are going to be in the present moment your entire life. If you are focusing on how good the future is going to be you are just running on the hamster wheel hoping to get somewhere. Life is right now in this glorious moment right in front of you. I believe that if you're not allowing yourself to be happy right now nothing external in the future is going to change that permanently."
Let that really sink in and blow your mind. Let it change you if you will. I am all about you creating a life that you want and changing anything you want in your life but know that you can do that from a place of acceptance and happiness now. You don't have to be unhappy. You don't have to be frustrated in order to make a change.
In fact, making changes from a place of abundance and happiness and joy in this moment will make that change so much easier. People want, all of us want, instant results. The truth is you always have that available to you if you're willing to be in this moment and understand that your capacity for joy is already at 100%. Your ability to be happy is already at 100%. The only difference is you are waiting for some external thing to change in order to give yourself permission to be happy in this moment.
I think that's what Eckhart Tolle has been trying to teach me all these years. I think that even Abraham, it's always about where is my stuff, where is my million dollars, where is my perfect body, where is my perfect man. Where are my perfect children, where's all my stuff, because once I get that then, then, and then I will really be happy. I think what they've been trying to teach me is you can have all that stuff. That stuff is so easy. That stuffs just stuff. You can get all of that if you use your mind properly. You can create anything you want in your life and I think I've understood that on some level.
What I've learned on a whole new level and really what I'm hoping that I'm teaching you and showing you is that you don't need all the stuff. You can get it all but you don't need it to be happy. In fact, if you're looking at something in your life externally and you don't think it's great and you don't think you're successful enough or you don't think your relationship is good enough or you don't think your kids are behaving right or you don't think your house is nice enough or you don't think your bank account is big enough, whatever it is, just know that those things do not have the ability to rob you of your happiness. You don't have to improve those things to feel better.
It doesn't mean you don't improve those things if you want to. Rock on with improving anything you want in your life, but just don't tell yourself that you will be somehow happier in the getting of those things. That happiness is right here available to you right now and you can find peace and joy in this moment regardless of your bank account, regardless of your weight.
When we really understand that. I just noticed myself this morning saying ooh I can't wait. You guys do that? I can't wait until this happens, that's going to be so awesome. I can't wait to teach this class or I can't wait to show these people my work or whatever it is. I had to catch myself a little bit and be like yes that will be awesome, but it's not anymore awesome than this moment right now and can I find the awesomeness in this moment.
I sat there and I felt myself resisting it. I felt myself thinking, no this moment's not as good as that moment's going to be. I asked myself why am I believing that, why am I choosing to believe in that, because I know conceptually that I can be in that space of joy right now if I allow myself to experience it.
I will tell you what happened. In that moment I tasted it. I tasted the ability to be fully joyous now and not because of anything outside of me. That's the big difference. I didn't have to think about being grateful for anything. I didn't have to look at my life and see what I have. I didn't have to do any of that to know that I could be happy. I really, it's like just a little blink of a taste that I could be happy regardless of what I have to be thankful for.
I could be happy regardless of what's going on in my life externally. I can just be happy. I will tell you what, that got me really excited. That's why I'm like I have to record the podcast today because I have to share it with these people and I have to make sure that I can explain it in a way that they can really understand.
Maybe we don't master this and maybe we're not just sitting on a bench in nirvana all the time, but maybe just knowing that it's possible. Knowing that we really could do that, that our happiness doesn't have to be wrapped up in a house and a Mercedes and a hot husband and a successful business, our happiness can just be wrapped up right in our mind in this moment. I think that rocks.
I hope that you see it the way I do because I want to talk to you about it. I'm like let's talk about this, what do you guys think about this idea. Can you taste it? Can you be in that moment? Can you notice when you're trying to escape this moment for some future moment? Can you tell the difference between doing that versus being fully content in this moment and planning for amazing future? Amazing future, but knowing that it doesn't have to be any more amazing than this moment, that it actually can't be. The amazingness, everything that's amazing, is available to us right here in this moment.
Please come to the lifecoachschool.com/9, put in the comments what you think about this idea. Do you guys have a hard time being in the present moment? Do you want to resist this moment and go to some future moment that you have designed that could be way better than this moment. I want to hear about it. I want to talk to you guys about it. I want to get your brilliant ideas about it.
Please go there, let's open up a conversation and talk about it. I would love to. Until then I want you guys to really consider the idea that it doesn't get better than this and that's not horrible news. If you think that's horrible news it's because you're looking outside of yourself to find things to make you happy.
What it means by it doesn't get better than this is that you have the capacity for all the joy you could ever want to experience inside of you and in this moment. Rocks my world. I want to be able to master that. That's my goal. Let's talk about it more. I'll see you on the site. Have an amazing week. Talk to you next time. Bye-bye.Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you’d like to hear on the show, please visit us at https://thelifecoachschool.com.

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