To live in the moment, or in the present, refers to a state of being aware, conscious, alert, in tune with your senses, and focused on what is happening at that particular moment in time. It is the opposite of “automatic living”, that is, just going through the motions.
More importantly, the present is a time during which we stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. We are able to enjoy the here and now.
Our Mind Creates Our World
Our mind is a powerful thing that processes all of our life’s experiences, and is also the instigator of our actions. However, most of the time, we are not even aware our own mind and its full power and potential. We lurch from one thought to the next with no rhyme or reason, and often feel the world is external to us, outside ourselves, and that we have no control over it.
The truth is that living in the present can help you gain the skills you need to take control of your life, through focus and concentration.
We Value What We Pay Attention To
When we concentrate our attention on the present, we focus on the task at hand, such as washing the dishes, gardening, or spending time with a loved one. We are not just sitting next to them on the sofa, with both of us fiddling with our cell phones. We are making eye contact, speaking, listening, and perhaps being affectionate. We give our full attention to what we are doing and we let go of the rest.
The practice of living in the moment is referred to as being mindful – in other words, paying attention. Being mindful when we eat means we enjoy our food more, because we are not wolfing it down. Being mindful as we walk through the park means we can enjoy the beauty of nature, such as the flowers and birdsong. It is about quality not quantity, brief moments in the present that take us out of our busy day. We can stop running around propelled by stress and take a short “mini-vacation” through mindfulness practice.
How to Start Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness practice starts with observing things more closely, and then trying to describe them. Imagine washing the dishes. Think of the sight, sound, smell, touch and so on. What does it feel like? How do you feel when you are doing it?
For most of us, this is a dull chore, and one we usually do on autopilot without thinking about it. But thanks to mindfulness, it can become interesting and even fun.
Stopping to reflect on one or two of our actions throughout the day can help us discover the beauty and wonder of all we do. We stop taking things for granted.
We also start to feel more positive energy because we are being less dragged down by the baggage of our past, and are giving ourselves more and more permission to enjoy ourselves and have fun. We are creating special little moments, and through those moments, can feel confident we have more like them to look forward to.
Live Every Moment Like It Counts
Life is too short to sleepwalk through it. Adding mindfulness as a daily practice can help you truly appreciate all you have. You will notice your work improves, your relationships get better, and everything starts to feel more effortless and less stressful. It does take practice, but the result is a happier, healthier you with a rich life full of meaning.