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Buying a Car Metaphor

The present moment is like buying a car. When we buy a car we are looking for value. We pay attention to the details. We look at the condition of the exterior and interior. Is the interior nice or does it smell like old food? We look at the condition of the upholstery. Is it in good condition? Has it been looked after or is there evidence that the car has been in an accident? Do the indicators work – all of them? 

It’s amazing how much time and energy we can expend in buying a car when we are looking for value in our purchase. We look for an incredible number of things, at an amazing level of detail, even perhaps asking others for their opinions.

When we are examining that car, we are completely focused on the job. We don’t want to miss anything that might cause us to regret our purchase later.

Our life can be compared to buying a car. If we look for value in our life in the present moment, the here and now, we will be surprised where we’ll find it. We might go for a walk and discover a lot of value in just a simple walk. We might notice the detail in the trees we see, the temperature and breeze we experience, and the sounds we hear. The aim might be to notice, absorb and cherish the beauty of nature that surrounds us. The present moment is about that. It is about finding yourself in a space where you can appreciate the ‘here and now’, because we have stopped and noticed. There is an enormous number of things we can value, enjoy, be grateful for, and take pleasure from in the here and now. 

In the present moment we can find a greater richness than if we hurry through life without noticing or considering. It is about being grounded. We can appreciate what life has to offer from that place.

The ‘buying the car’ metaphor is a helpful and light-hearted way of introducing living in the present moment. We ask our clients to look at the detail of their lives. It is a simple metaphor most of our clients will be able to connect with. 

John was a walker. He’d walked the same path for years. In his next session after being introduced to this metaphor he came back told me about a walk that he said he had never done before. It was the same path he had walked for years, but had never before noticed the individual houses, the pretty gardens, the smells, the bark on the trees, the different colours of leaves, the bird feathers on the ground and the flowers growing between the cracks on the path he had stepped on thousands of times. He hadn’t been paying attention – he hadn’t been in the present moment.


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