For quite some time now various speakers and authors as well as the mindfulness movement have plugged being in the present.

But it’s a myth. And it can lead to harm.

There is an element of helpfulness to the idea of being in the now. It keeps you from casting your mind into the past and focusing on anger or resentment or projecting into the future and producing anxiety.

Too often, though, in-the-now is a mentally controlling, fear-based effort. Some speakers even talk about how you should avoid your ‘stories’ or your emotional pain.

That creates a disconnect in your consciousness. Anytime you cast out parts of yourself as bad or are afraid of pieces of yourself, you limit your consciousness. You live in fear and reduce access to your knowledge.

True in-the-present isn’t only mental, as has become associated with mindfulness. It’s being present emotionally. That’s difficult as we’ve been taught certain emotions are bad.

The reason why in-the-present is a myth is because there is no single ‘now’. Our consciousness is extremely complex and multi-layered.

A better concept is awareness. Awareness means you can move your attention to the most advantageous place in the moment and you can move easily among various states of consciousness. That empowers you.

Catherine Sherlock