Please don't shoot me for being a mystic. I'm well aware that this concept is tied in heavily with new age mysticism.
It does make sense that for people who are burden down by regret (past) or irrational fear (future) that living in the now helps them see reality for what it is. Since living in the now is about being aware on what is reality, then is that consistent with the idea that focus is about being aware of reality?
This is not an argument to abandon past values or ignore future possibilities. Rather, it's an advice to not take the past or the future as being in the present and then suffering emotionally as a result.
These are the two essential words in this question. These two words imply a contempt for how reality changes .
Imagine looking at a barometer. It says 29.92 inches of mercury. Living "in the now" would mean to know only this number, and make conclusions based on it, such as "everything's OK."
But what if you had additional knowledge, that the barometer has fallen 1/2" in the last 30 minutes? You'd probably round up the children in the tornado shelter.
In fact, concern with reality means concern with every aspect of reality, including how it has changed recently.
Virtually all of Western science is based on the idea that the future value of a measurement can be predicted, to some extent, by reference to its current value, and its rate of change. Abandoning concern with past values means the rate of change cannot be computed. And without knowledge of the rate of change, the future cannot be estimated.
Abandoning this temporal perspective on reality is to give up any principles which would allow you to predict the future. It's to ignore that there are many processes in realty which we can, and should, predict.
In this broad sense, "live in the now" is certainly an example of evasion.
"Live in the now", as a piece of advice, is only valid in carefully delimited contexts, such as when one is having sex, or when one is playing a competitive sport such as tennis. The idea is to concentrate on the game, rather than what happened before the game, or on what might happen after the game.
Beyond such contexts, "live in the now" is bad advice. Instead, I'd advise: "Make remedies for your past mistakes, concern yourself with what's going on now and how you might improve the future."
answered Jun 27 '12 at 13:15
John Paquette ♦