In the moment vs. for the moment (there is a difference)

Image: Liam Stahnke

Yes, I’ll fully admit, I’m one of those Eckhart-Tollean live-in-the-now types. Unabashedly so. There’s so much power in this message and I’ve preached this time and time again here in this publication.

Occasionally, I come across someone who’s skeptical (weird, right?). As I talk about it, they adjust their posture, cross their arms, peer at me from under their glasses (because they’re always wearing glasses), and drop that bomb…

“Oh… So you’re just about living for the moment, huh? Like, why not just rob me and take all my money right now if that’s what would make you happy? Or cheat on your wife if that’s what would bring you fulfillment?”

Then they walk away muttering under their breath something like, “Frikkin new-age whacko,” before ordering a shot of whiskey and breaking the glass on the wall after they down it (okay, I might be dramatizing this a liiiittle bit).

But here’s an important distinction we have to make when we speak of this ‘in-the-moment’ stuff…

I want to live ‘in the moment’ not ‘for the moment’.

When you live in the moment, you maximize the moments you have. You look people in the eye and shake their hands firmly with vigor. You deepen into the moment and feel every one as much as you can. You see profound meaning and depth if even under extreme sickness and lack. You bring all of yourself into the moment without holding any back for ‘later’. You can enjoy a good meal and a great conversation with a friend. You’re not ridden by FOMO.

But you understand that what happens now is connected to and inseparable from what is to come.

When you live for the moment, you abandon your sense of trajectory in life. You lay waste to relationships, are easily controlled by instant gratification, and only see your ego as the thing to feed.

I want to live in the moment knowing it is eternal and lasts a long time. This is the non-dual nature of spirituality. Holding two opposing ideas as truth. In the moment. And all of the moments.


Thanks to Judah Smith for the inspiration.


Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people deepen their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way.

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