As a pursuer of happiness, focusing on the “now” is interpreted a bit differently.
Picture it, you’re feeling uncomfortable, you don’t like the situation you find yourself in. “Um, let’s see, someone said I should focus on the now – then I’d feel better. Hm, but I AM focused on the now – I don’t like it. Maybe I should find something to appreciate about the situation? Hm, it sucks, what’s to like? Okay, okay, I’ll just breathe. Gah! but my mind keeps going back to discomfort!”
You might not be able to physically alter what’s actually happening right now. It’s also hard to change how you feel about an undesirable situation. And it’s kinda lame to pick-out something you DO like when presented with a circumstance so obviously disagreeable.
Good thing there’s another option! As a pursuer of happiness, I don’t care about what’s happening in the present. Staying in the present is only important in the sense that it puts me in the driver’s seat. Being present allows me to notice that I feel uncomfortable, which means I’m focusing on something unpleasant, which means I need to alter my focus. And since I’m consciously present, I direct my focus to something specifically pleasant.
Therefore, I imagine how I’d feel while experiencing the best version of whatever I’m currently doing. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I’m simply speculating about the feelings I’d experience in a perfect scenario. And I construct this fantasy within the walls of love, lightheartedness, creativity, and triumph. There’s no revenge-fantasies for example, only everybody winning at the end. And in that instant, I feel better.
If I’m in the now, I’m aware of my focus and I can witness its effect on how I feel. Changing my focus results in an immediate transformation. It’s like watching an ad for an upcoming horror-movie and feeling the fear and paranoia creep in. Feelings are easily manipulated – it happens all the time. My wandering mind constantly tries to freak me out with the dumbest stuff – always trying to stimulate my emotions.
But if I’m in the driver’s seat, able to see what my wandering mind is up to, I can grab the wheel and steer towards a pleasant direction. Again, I simply focus on ideal feelings: feeling love, feeling lighthearted, feeling creative, and feeling like a winner. Since my mind typically wanders through the worst imaginable scenarios, I’m simply doing the opposite and purposefully strolling into a well-maintained garden.
And funny enough, that original situation that seemed so bad prior to my practice of focus-readjustment doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Eventually, by this practice, nothing seems so bad anymore.