Life is only available in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your life deeply-Thich Nhat Hanh.
How are you living life? Are you living in the moment, past or future?
Living in the moment or now, means being conscious and present about what goes on around you daily. It means not dwelling on the past, worrying or waiting for the future but paying attention to your present and focusing on the task at hand. Sometimes we get stuck in the past or become too focused or anxious about the future that we rob ourselves of what life has to offer now. Truth is the past is gone and we have no idea what the future holds; the only time we have is NOW. To live a life of purpose, we must learn to live in the moment.
When we live in the present we begin to recognize all that life has to offer. Life has so much to offer now. For two years, I spent most of my time reminiscing on the past; thinking of what could have and should have been. I was also stuck on the idea of the future I had planned without being cognizant of all the possibilities that surrounded me. This way of life only left me feeling frustrated and angry; I was letting life pass me by, it took being rejected to wake me up from my slumber. One day, I had what you could call a light bulb moment and from that moment I made the decision to live in the moment and not let life pass me by.
Tomorrow never comes
Tomorrow is an illusion, it’s that one thing that’s so close but yet so far like a mirage in the desert that disappears on arrival. Tomorrow is important because it holds the future but we must not live life only for tomorrow because the tomorrow we are looking and hoping for is in today. If we take good care of today by being present, learn and grow from it, tomorrow will take care of itself.
Remember then: there is only one time that is important-Now! It is the most important time because it the only time when we have any power-Leo Tolstoy
Do you sometimes feel like you have no power or control over your life? It’s sometimes because of the lack of presence. Being present puts us in a position to change anything. Living in the moment doesn’t mean we make no plans for the future; It means making plans for the future and working towards them today while trying to enjoy and learn from each day so we don’t miss out on the little and important things of life.
Some obstacles to our being present and living in the moment:
Worry and anxiety
Lack of interest
Importance of living in the moment
The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything, or feel anything or express and feel any emotion, or respond to an event, or grow , or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us gets. You’re only here now, you’re only alive in this moment- Jon Kabat-Zinn
1. Effective learning and growth
Each stage and season of life always has something to teach. For us to truly learn, we must be willing and present. As I get older and look back, I realize that I didn’t fully utilize each stage of my life. There are some things I wish I did differently. Sometimes we spend most of our time in anticipation of the next stage or season of life, without being fully present to learn what each stage has to teach. Later on, we realize that those things we took for granted then are of great importance now. We must make the decision to learn and grow from each season of life regardless of what it looks like because what seems unimportant in one season could be the very thing we need in the next.
2. Happiness and Gratitude
Living life one day at a time without stressing or worrying about the future is liberating. This brings happiness and thankfulness, making us aware of how blessed we are and what each day has to offer. We smile more and see the beauty in nature and people, realizing that each day is a gift not meant to be hidden but opened and explored.
3. Enjoying yourself and those around you
Without being present, we can never fully enjoy ourselves and those around us. We must make the decision to enjoy life. Enjoy yourself while drinking that cup of tea, shopping, on vacation, reading, exercising, doing the laundry, and being with loved ones. We don’t only enjoy the big things, we can enjoy the little things too. Not being present can make those around us feel unwanted and unappreciated. This can create a distance between you and the people you love. Time flies, kids grow fast, parents grow old. After all is said and done, all we are left with are memories. Let’s make them count.
4. Improves creativity
If you write, paint or do any creative work you may have found out that your best workflows out of you when you are clear-headed and not thinking much. You connect with your true self when present and free of every distraction. We all have ideas on the inside but we are sometimes too busy, stressed or distracted to create them; Learning to put aside every distraction, would connect with our true selves and let our creativity flow.
5. Less worry and anxiety
Worry and anxiety are always tied to our thoughts and expectations of the future. When we try to live life one day at a time, we worry less and live more; realizing that each day comes with its challenges and there is only so much we can do.
Tips on how to be present
1. Live each day like it was your last: Take advantage of the moment. Wayne Dyer once said “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone, the future is not guaranteed”. If today was your last day, what would you do differently? write those things down and work towards them. Living this way, helps us put things in perspective.
2. Think and make plans for tomorrow without worrying: They say he who fails to plan, plans to fail. Having a plan is having a blueprint or vision for the future. Before building a house, one of the first things to do is to get an architect to draw a plan. That plan sets the groundwork for all that would be done; In the same way, our plans set the groundwork for the future. It’s good to plan and think of the future but there’s a very thin line between thinking and worrying and we cross that line very often. Worrying about tomorrow really doesn’t change it; It only makes us unproductive, so instead of worrying, harness all that energy into today by doing the best you could and enjoy every bit of it.
3. Be optimistic: Always be expectant and never lose hope for the future. We attract what we expect so keeping our expectations positive is important. Start and end each day with positive thoughts and affirmations. You are strong and able to tackle whatever difficulties come your way.
4. Invest in yourself and your future: Do one thing each day that gets you closer to the future you desire to see and have. Don’t just dream about it, put that dream to work. Dreams only become reality when we do something about them today.
5. Let go of the past: Being stuck in the past stunts our growth and progress. But when we let go and embrace the present, we are truly able to recognize, utilize and appreciate all that is right before us.
6. Identify roadblocks to living in the moment: There are so many things around us that compete with our living in the moment. We have to figure out what they are, work around them or avoid them; without doing this, we make no progress. For me, my cell phone is a big distraction, so I enable the airplane mode whenever I need to focus or clear my head; other times I use my laptop. Doing this has helped me concentrate better.
Living in the moment is truly important to our well being. To live a purposeful life, we must learn to focus our minds on the present and do the best we could do NOW. As we learn to incorporate this into our everyday life, changes take place. Remember you can do anything you set your mind to, with practice, hope and perseverance, you are unstoppable.