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Culture

The Life-Changing Power of the Present

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“Does this spark joy?” This is the line used by Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, when helping clients purge themselves of unnecessary belongings. This book, an international best-seller since 2012, seems to be touching a nerve with people. As individuals begin to downsize, live Tiny and get creative with their organization, it seems we’re making a move away from the material and toward mindfulness—a focus on the emotions, thoughts and sensations of the present.

Creating a space for mindfulness often requires us to let go of the past and look at what is important right now. This could mean letting go of clutter that suffocates our home, ridding ourselves of things that no longer serve a purpose or spring cleaning our spirit. Being present opens the door to being fully aware of all we are and all we can be; by letting go of attachments, whether physical or emotional, and seeing ourselves for exactly who we are, we give ourselves the space to zone in on our own intrinsic value as an eternal child of God.

Unload Your Burdens

It can be hard to let go of the past, and past mistakes can often help us make positive changes for the future, but every once in a while, meeting God in a clear space requires accessing the freedom of each present moment.

Many of us hold on to things of value but not all valuable things do us good. That is the essence of Kondo’s book—do the things you hold on to spark joy? In the past, we might have gone through heavy situations, learned from them and felt the joy of surviving an ordeal, but when we look back, does that memory bring us joy or fill us with sorrow? What if we were to let go of the pains of the past? Without the burden of those sorrows on our shoulders, who do we become?

Rediscover Your Godly Value

Father Moon often emphasized the importance of being “reborn” into God’s family. No, he wasn’t talking about reincarnation: he described being reborn as cutting away all the things in one’s life that keep us from relating to God and realizing our place in God’s family. Focusing too much on who we used to be may lead us to create false labels of who we are. If we think of ourselves as “unworthy” or “hopeless,” we might start to self-fulfill those prophecies, but don’t we have the power to change our future?

For some of us it may not be that hard to create a life that we feel comfortable letting God into. For others, the desire to change our thoughts or habits might be there, but the thought of letting someone in can be really scary—there might be a lot of things we don’t want anyone to know about, let alone our Creator.

But does God care about who you are or what you’ve done? What if we were to meet God as we are, right here and right now? If we think back to Jesus’s time on Earth, we know that he often spoke to beggars and prostitutes: the pariahs of society. Many people assumed that the beggars and prostitutes had little value, but when they approached Jesus they were never condemned and were simply told to “go and sin no more.”

Freedom in the Present

Sometimes the things that need releasing are hidden behind good, loving feelings. We might have gifts or long-time relationships we’ve always held on to that may no longer bring us joy and might even be unhealthy. Sometimes, we just need to muster up our confidence to let go of nostalgia, say “no” to those invites or to leave those old possessions behind. When we clear away those things, we have more room to work on ourselves in the present.

So how do we let go? Think of yourself in this moment, reading these final sentences. In this present moment, you are simply existing in this act. In the next, you’ll decide to exist exactly as you like. Who will you decide to be?