Hippocampus is a part of the brain that is important for the formation of memories. If this part of your brain is damaged or destroyed, you may find yourself living in the eternal now. You will not even remember what happened thirty seconds ago. The future will also disappear. You will not remember that you have to go to the laundry to pick up your clothes or that you have an appointment with the dentist in the afternoon.
Eckhart Tolle and many other spiritual teachers put too much emphasis on the now, I think. To focus all attention on the now will not lead to spiritual transformation or awakening. Why bother about climate change, environmental pollution and injustice if only the present now is real? Why bother about anything if only what you have here in front of you, at this moment, is real?
However, to completely loose touch with the now is very harmful. Many people suffer from this disease in our modern societies. They’re always somewhere else. They’ve lost contact with themselves and the reality. Trying desperately to reach a goal or playing one’s old cassettes over and over, is to be gone. It’s very important to be able to be present.
It’s good for both mental and physical health to be present in the now. For example, Jon Kabat-Zinn has showed that psoriasis patients will respond better to UV-light treatment if they are mindful of the present moment during the treatment. Isn’t this an interesting discovery? Why would mindfulness of the now improve psoriasis treatment? In addition, you will more often be in a better mood if you spend more moments in the now.
The mind is planning for the future and looking back at what happened, but returns to the present, again and again. A normal healthy mind works this way. The now is very important but memories of the past and making plans for the future is also important. Without memory and plans for the future, we would need people at a nursing home or a monastery to take care of us.
Fantasies, daydreams, theories and ideas are also very important but we must not forget that all such mental bubbles will eventually burst. Our minds are often fooling us. The world is not as we think it is.
However, nothing is more important than warmth. A cold, intellectual analysis of life is the most serious delusion of all. This approach is to give up our humanness and settle in a theoretical reality.