Let us look at something that affects many people today to understand this more thoroughly. Depression is quite common and it definitely has components of being stuck in the past or seeing the future as bleak. However, if we look at seasonal affective depression, then we see that in some cases of depression the fault is not with how we think, but because our bodies do not get enough sunlight… This occurs in the here and now, neither in the past nor in the future.
If we were to listen to these “guru’s” we would be trying to control our thinking so we do not think either in the present or the future. But the problem and the solution in those instances has nothing to do with thinking…
That’s a clear cut case among many that simply do not have a past/future cognitive or emotional component.
At the same time we need to be mindful that there are occasions when we do indeed need to make contact with the present. For example, one of the things I like to encourage people to do is to get in touch with their bodies. This helps centres them and allows their focus to rest back to the present. Being able to contact the present is very important to overcome dissociation which afflicts far more people that we readily recognize. There definitely is a place for being more present but to say that it is a panacea is very far from reality.
Consider someone who has been severely traumatized. If we were to approach that person with the mentality of all we need to do is to get them to focus on the present, we would likely be doing more harm than good. I kid you not! This is because trauma is very complicated involving many different facets of human functioning. One of them is working with the body in the present and releasing trauma. This is not a catharsis as such, but rather a slow and methodical letting go of trauma that literally has been trapped in the body. There is a somatic component which also needs to be addressed.
Trauma is also primarily about being overwhelmed in the present. Hence, a client needs to learn to manage their interior with a graceful skillset that extends far beyond just getting into the present. They need to learn to relax, they need to learn to quiet down, they need to learn to nurture themselves and genuinely approach themselves with loving kindness. They may need to address boundary issues, forge healthier relationships and so on. There are many components that go into healing and truly it is far more complex than meets the eye.
What may be good to take away from this article is to not fall for the magic pill approach – quick fixes to complex problems. Instead try and approach things more realistically and try and not be so prone to gullibility. Really try and learn to think your way through things. Developing your own inner resources will go a long way to reducing gullibility and keeping yourself on the right track for you.