How focusing on the current moment can help enrich your life.
Too much of our lives are spent focusing our attention and energy on the past or future. Perhaps reminiscing or dwelling on a memory of something we experienced, or anticipating something that has not yet happened. These thoughts are really just mental interpretations of past or future events. Focusing on these things can really detract from the appreciation of the present moment, the now. Bringing your attention into the current moment and the experiences you are having right now can greatly increase your ability to appreciate the life you are living!
It is a bit of a hard concept to grasp, but there is no other reality than the present. There is no other way to experience life than the current moment of your existence. As we move through so called “time” each moment we experience is the present. Everything prior instantly becomes the past, and everything yet to happen is the future.
But does this ever change?
Of course not. We are always experiencing one precious moment of our short existence in this universe. While it may not seem so, we are experiencing only one moment in time, always. Everything else is a type of illusion.
When we are thinking of the past, we are remembering something that has previously happened, but we are still living in the present moment. We are focusing on an energy and memory within ourselves, re-living our interpretation of an experience the way we remember it. This is only a current moment interpretation. Often these interpretations are not really accurate, and change or fade over time. Our mind creates a picture of how we think something may have happened.
When we are anticipating something, we are thinking of the future, but we are still living in the present moment. We are projecting ourselves into the future trying to guess how an event will play itself out. We are living with the expectancy of a certain chain of events. Almost all of the time, these events do not happen the way we tell ourselves they will.
I am not saying to try and forget the memories you cherish, or even the tough memories of hard times. It is these experiences over the span of our lives that help to shape us into the wonderful people that we are at the present moment.
I am also not suggesting you forget your schedule or plans for the future. Having a schedule, plans, and goals helps guide us through our experiences and helps us create the lives we want for ourselves.
What I am suggesting is to make the effort to slow down your mind on a regular basis. So often in the western world, we live in a fast pace, intense society. We do not make the effort to really quiet ourselves and enjoy the beautiful people and world around us.
Have you ever been in the woods, or looking at a beautiful mountain scene or sunset, and been overwhelmed so much by the natural beauty of the scene in front of you that time seemed to slow down?
Perhaps your mind stopped thinking whatever was racing through the synapses in your brain, and just slowed down to appreciate what your eyes were taking in. The world slowed down for a brief moment, and you could hear every blade of grass moving in the wind. Every leaf rustling. You could feel every little sensation in your body. I have had many of these experiences, and they are amazing. The amount of wonderful sensations I have felt from the natural world, in one brief moment is truly astounding.
That is a perfect example of living in the present. Of how enjoying the experiences of the now, can help to enhance the senses and show the world around you to yourself in a very fulfilling way.
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This slowing of the mind, and bringing it into focus on the present does not need to be limited to natural or beautiful scenes. It can be harnessed anytime and can have great benefits. Start by slowing your breathing, and bringing your focus to your breath. Listen to your breath, and feel your chest move in and out, expand and contract. This small meditation can help to temporarily dispel the train of thoughts streaming through your consciousness, and bring your mind into the now. It can be done almost anytime, anywhere!
Then take your focus to the body. What sensations are you feeling? Is there a tingle somewhere? A soreness or pain? Heat or cold? Take this awareness of the body outward, and use all of the senses. What smells are you smelling? Can you feel the wind on your face or in your hair? Or, if you are like me, on your bald head? Can you hear each sound independently from the others?
There are a plethora of experiences to be had in each moment, just focusing on the senses and the things around you.
Living in the present also applies to relationships. It is all too common for us to be in a conversation, or spending time with our children, and our attention be elsewhere. Maybe on something from work, some other stress, or any issue that is bothering us.
Slow down, and focus yourself on the conversation and the experience you are having with the people around you. Stop multi-tasking in your brain, and worrying yourself about the past or the future. Enjoy the moment you have with these amazing people. Really listen to the things that are being said. Your relationships can be enhanced and more meaningful if you do this. The special time you have with your children can be so much more enriching for both you and them, if you make the effort to really be there for them, in each present moment.
Personally, I make a regular practice of slowing my breath and focusing on the present moment in several different ways. In the mornings, I practice breathing techniques during yoga and meditation. Throughout the day, I do my best remember to slow myself down and enjoy the moment. When I am with my family, especially my little boy, I make sure to be present to the interaction and focus my attention on them. These practices have really helped to enhance the experiences and relationships in my life!
I want the same for you, and I suggest you take this moment right now to slow your mind down a bit, appreciate yourself for reading this article, cherish your memories, make your plans and goals for the future, and go out there and be the best man, woman, husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, and person you can be! The world needs you as the best version of yourself, in every perfect moment!
This post is courtesy of Rama Davis and originally appeared on his site, Stone Wall Persistence. Thank you, Rama.