One of the most significant and profound lessons we can learn from little children is how to live in the moment. Have you ever watched a two or three-year old child at play? When he is playing with his toy car, he will drive it around, making car noises and probably feeling like the best driver there is. Nothing else in the world exists in that moment. He is not thinking about what happened yesterday and what he might be doing later in the day. If you take away that toy car from him, he will get upset and in that moment, nothing else in the world will matter but how upset he feels about you taking the toy car from him. Give it back and all is forgotten without a grudge. He will be back to his previous moment until something more interesting to him comes along that he will also give all his attention to.
A lot of life seems to pass us by because many of us are living either in the past or in the future. We go through our days with our minds preoccupied. How often does your mind drift off while doing a task, and you start thinking about something you did wrong or worrying about a future event? How often are you walking while talking on a cell phone, or thinking about personal problems, or the errands you have to run? How often do you eat without thinking about the food you’re eating?
There are numerous things we do in our day-to-day lives without thinking. We cannot get the most out of life unless we learn to set our minds on being present, that is, to be more conscious of life as it happens. Being present demands that we become aware of what’s going on within and around us without being burdened by inner concerns.
Increased focus on the present will enable you to enjoy life more. You might find you enjoy your work more and possibly even your food. Being present also helps us to reduce our stress levels as we reduce our focus on present and future worries, a source of stress for many. It may also help us become better at relationships as we become more committed at being present with our significant others, which may enable us to become better listeners and creates stronger bonds. Presentness has a big emphasis on doing one thing at a time and by focusing on the present task rather than trying to get a thousand things done at a go, you can complete a task faster and do a better job at it. In addition, being present keeps us from being swept along with the different currents that we encounter in life.
While there’s no single method that will get you better at being present, constant practice can enable you to achieve a certain level of awareness. Practice while getting ready in the morning, while working during the day, or while eating lunch. Strive to practice at every opportunity.
Nonetheless, being present is not something that is achieved instantly. It is a practice that takes time. It can also take place in some situations and not others. As you start noting how present you are in your day-today life, also note what keeps you from being present. It’s also important to have an intention of being present as a way of life and not just in some situations.
We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don’t think it was, and I would advise you not to wait 10 years before admitting today was great. If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.
Art Buchwald (1925-2007), American Humourist
With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), American essayist, lecturer, and poet
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
Dale Carnegie (1888 –1955), American writer and lecturer
Forever is composed of nows. Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886), American poet
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD – 180 AD,) Roman Emperor from 161 to 180
If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.
There is nothing as beautiful as living in the moment; giving your all and directing all your energy towards the activity or person before you. It makes life very fulfilling. It is the power of now. Let us quit living all our lives in the past or in the future, which makes for a miserable existence.
Pamela Moraa, 32, Advertising Executive.