Full Contact With The Here And Now
Constantly looking forward to a better future, constantly looking back on a better past, doing more than one thing at the same time, always pulling out a smart phone in public places or new situations, – all amount to pretty much the same thing from the mindfulness point of view. They’re defense mechanisms called deflections meant to protect the psyche from the existential anxiety cued off from the prospect of full contact with the here and now.
Full contact with the here and now is unconsciously anxiety provoking because it amounts to ceding control, to pressing play on the unknown. The Self inside the skin integrates with the various stimuli outside the skin, which opens up the possibility of this Self getting disrupted, transformed, even destroyed.
Deflecting away from the present moment is, at bottom, about self-preservation. It seeks to keep the Self safe by limiting contact with those external stimuli, thereby dampening down the danger to levels felt to be acceptable, like sleeping with one eye open. The paradox is that full integration of Self can only occur through making contact with and existing fully in the present moment since every moment of human life occurs in the present moment.
A philosophical insight to combat the unconscious existential anxiety cued off by the felt threat to Self of existing fully in the here and now is that the true threat to Self is not existing fully in the here and now since partial contact with the present means partial integration of Self with world and therefore incomplete self-actualization.