So let’s play a game. Here are the rules:
For the next ten minutes, pretend there is no past or future (Your Ego will have to do the pretending because it believes in the past/future)
Every time you have the briefest of thoughts related to either the past or the future, don’t try to change it or stop it. Just become aware of it and say to yourself (even if you don’t believe it), “That thought about _________ is meaningless.”
Do this as often as a past/future thought comes up (which will more than likely be constantly). After each thought just say, “That thought about _________ is meaningless.”
Just notice your experience. Notice what you’re thinking and feeling each time. I challenge you to do this for a whole day sometime. In that case, simply notice throughout the day when you seem to be thinking thoughts about the past/future and then say, “That thought about _________ is meaningless.” You may be surprised what happens.
But back to your ten minute exercise. So what did you notice? Surprisingly, many people report that when they say “That thought about _________ is meaningless” there is an immediate and usually very brief sense of relief, quickly followed by intellectually questioning that experience of relief.
Other people experience an immediate sense of irritation (still attached to that belief that your thoughts about the past/future have meaning, huh?).
If you experienced that brief sense of relief, it is because for a split second, you were in the NOW and had an opening of awareness.
You challenged your conventional Ego state that is completely wedded to the belief that thinking about past/present has some kind of value. The usual Ego state stopped working for a brief period, and the result was relief.
From the book; My Undoing