Sometimes I wish I could keep my brained tuned to only one channel, so to speak. The channel I would choose is "Now". However annoying it is to be in the presence of someone who constantly changes channels on the television, it is not as distracting as one's own brain switching to different moments in time. Thoughts jump from what you need to do later, or next week, to grievances from the past, or events planned far into the future. Staying in the now is a difficult thing to accomplish, yet ultimately one of the most rewarding aspects of life.
Living in the now can help people become great athletes, writers, artists, surgeons, and master many other professions. A baseball player whose mind is in the now is more likely to hit the ball pitched at him than if he is thinking about what he will have for dinner later. A surgeon existing in the now is less likely to make a mistake than if he is reminiscing about his recent Hawaiian vacation. Living in the now keeps one focused and facilitates good work.
Animals, of course, exist in the now. They possess an innate sense of time, such as when to be walked or fed. Animals do not think about the past or project into the future. (And seem to be much happier than most humans). Children mostly live in the now. One can see it by how engrossed a child becomes when playing, losing all sense of time. As children, we are eased out of the now when we start school, and have schedules imposed upon us. The older we become, the more pressure there is to plan and live for the future. After awhile, it feels as if we are on a train that never arrives at its destination. We are so busy straining our eyes to see the distant point we are trying to get to that the scenery along the way cannot be enjoyed.
In the creative process, being in the now is a high like no other. To be totally engrossed in one's work and lose track of time is to what artists aspire. It is in the now that work ceases to be work, and creativity flows as if from some never-ending source. Unfortunately, this state doesn't last. Appointments must be kept, deadlines reached, and bills paid. Even so, once you have existed in the "Now", you will strive to return. For, the "Now", is the only time you truly feel alive.