I've read some awesome books this summer, and two have really stood out. Those books are The Power of Now and Flow. PoN is a bit more spiritual, while Flow is more scientific. I was amazed at how well the two books complemented one another, so I polished the following combined summary while I enjoyed them. I figured other people might find this synopsis useful for lifting and life, so I've decided to share it...
We've been socialized and manipulated to desire rewards others have agreed we should long for. Thousands of potentially fulfilling experiences pass by unnoticed because they are not the things we've been taught to desire. As long as we obey the socially conditioned stimulus-response patterns that exploit our biological and socially constructed inclinations, our inner world is controlled from the outside. In order to circumvent these forces, our primary intention must be the mastery of consciousness.
This mastery, which enables you to break free from negative thought, can be achieved by constantly observing the Now. Your past is not your identity, and the passing moment can only be made painful through your reflective judgements. Your future and your fears are projections. Notice how many of your thoughts are trying to pull you away from this moment, barring you from being adaptable and experiencing continuous flow. Witness how often your mind and your ego try to fabricate threats and resist what is. Bring order to your inner world - accept and surrender to the timeless and neutral present and focus your attention externally to right here right now.
The world is a playground. Designate times to do some planning, consistently define new and appropriately challenging goals that will lead to a higher level of personal complexity, then engage in a conscious interaction with the world. Invest in appreciating, exploring, or creating in each moment as it dissolves. Recognize when you are unconsciously investing in worrying, wishing, or waiting. Realize you can only and always find authenticity, joy, peace, and fulfillment right now by concentrating your attention on the Now.