Quotations reflecting on the present, sometimes in relationship to the past and future.

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Each time you focus on your breath, each time you relax and listen to your feelings, you open yourself to the present.

— Yoga Journal

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

— Abraham Lincoln

We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.

— Alan Watts

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.

— Albert Einstein

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live. The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

— Albert Einstein

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

— Anaïs Nin

The here and now is all we have, and if we play it right it’s all we’ll need

— Ann Richards

Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.

— Barbara De Angelis

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

— Buddha

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

— Buddha

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

— Charles M. Schulz

I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.

— Colette

The voice emerges literally from the body
As a representation of our inner world.
It carries our experience from the past,
Our hopes and fears for the future,
And the emotional resonance of the moment.
If it carries none of these, it must be
A masked voice, and having muted the voice,
Anyone listening knows intuitively
We are not all there.

— David Whyte, The Heart Aroused

The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.

— Eckhart Tolle

Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils, but present evils triumph over it.

— Francois de La Rochefoucauld

The future influences the present just as much as the past.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.

— George Harrison

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.

— Groucho Marx

The past, the present and the future are really one: they are today.

— Harriet Beecher Stowe

Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.

— Henry David Thoreau

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

— Henry David Thoreau

To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

— Howard Zinn

The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present.

— James Kouzes and Barry Posner

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.

— Jane Glidewell

Fancy rules over two thirds of the universe, the past, and future, while reality is confined to the present.

— Jean Paul Richter

‎Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self esteem.

— Jillian Michaels

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

— John F. Kennedy

There are certain ways in which I cultivate awareness, both through mindful yoga and taking care of my body and taking time to actually drop as deeply as possible into stillness, into whatever is unfolding in the present moment.

— Jon Kabat-Zinn

There are certain ways in which I cultivate awareness, both through mindful yoga and taking care of my body and taking time to actually drop as deeply as possible into stillness, into whatever is unfolding in the present moment.

— Jon Kabat-Zinn

Whoever doesn’t know the past must have little understanding of the present and no vision of the future.

— Joseph S. Raymond

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence;
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes every
Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, and every
Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.

— Kalidasa, from the Sanskrit

Forgiveness empties the past of its power to empty the present of its peace.

— L.R. Knost

Of all the justices, restitution is the hardest one for it requires fairness to the past and to the present; two things that are not meant to meet, but which in human claims often do.

— Lamine Pearlheart

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.

— Leo Buscaglia

There has never been an age that did not applaud the past and lament the present.

— Lillian Eichler Watson

The eternal life is given to those who live in the present.

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

Everyone’s life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain.

— Marcus Aurelius

The present moment, if you think about it, is the only time there is. No matter what time it is, it is always now.

— Marianne Williamson

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

— Melody Beattie

History is the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instructor of the present, and monitor to the future.

— Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.

— Omar Khayyam

Impermanence becomes vivid in the present moment; so do compassion and wonder and courage.

— Pema Chödrön

[A]ll talk of history is talk about the present. And the future.

— Philip R. Davies

One of the most powerful, and deeply spiritual, ways to work for social change is for us to take action in the present that embodies — right now! — the future vision that we seek

— Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.

— Seneca

We are responsible for what we are, and we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in the future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.

— Swami Vivekananda

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense and the past perfect.

— The United Church Observer

Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.

— Thich Nhat Hanh
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