Have you ever being driving along the road when suddenly you realise that you haven't been paying attention to the world around you? It's almost as if you were "zoned out." We do this sometimes when we think about the past or the future.
Why do most of us find it difficult to refrain from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? Is it because we do not know how to release ourselves from setbacks or disappointments?
Do we daydream about the future to escape from the hard work required to bring about the changes we actually want? Sooner or later, we are forced to come back to the present. A task has to be completed, the shopping needs to be done, children are waiting to be fetched or a meal has to be prepared...
We don't have to look too far to discover how to live in the present moment. Just find a group of children and watch them. Children have a natural ability to focus on the here and now. By the time we reach adult life, we've usually discarded this way of life, simply because we've seen it all before. After all, how could it possibly be any different? If only we were to begin to pay more attention...to everything around us.
When we're at work, we long to be on holiday. When we're on holiday, we worry about a looming deadline or the work that's accumulating in our absence. What if we were to learn how to appreciate the living present by being less distracted and more focused on what is currently taking place in our lives? What if we were to use our senses more effectively? When did we last really savour our cup of tea, coffee or a meal? When did we last focus on breathing (instead of taking it for granted just because it's always there with us?)
Noticing new things catapults us into the here and now. Instead of staying stuck in the past or obsessing about the future, we can decide to change this self destructive behaviour through sheer determination and a preparedness to do things differently. Suddenly we are reminded that everything around us is constantly changing.
The benefits of living more frequently in the here and now are numerous. Those who subscribe to this way of life, confirm a greater sense of happiness and well-being, a more positive response to life and those around them and a healthier self-esteem. They're less impulsive, more accomodating and accepting and they display more empathy towards others. They also feel more secure.
" We cannot take action in the past as it is over and done with, and we cannot inhabit the future as it has yet to arrive. All we have, is the here and now."
Would you like to know the secret of how to avoid those scary moments when we're driving along on auto-pilot? We should simply develop the habit of noticing the new things around us, no matter what the situation in which we find ourselves. By focusing on the here and now, we neither negate past events nor future possibilities, because the past is inextricably intertwined with our current experience. " The idea is to avoid dwelling on the past or anxiously anticipating the future."
What if, instead of spending hours in front of a computer or lying on a couch watching TV, we were to make a concerted effort to get up more regularly to walk around, or better still, to go outside? By moving about, we bring ourselves back into the here and now.
Bear in mind, that this very moment that's happening right now, will never come back again. The very fact that we keep saying that time "flies" should not be something we either fear or dread. It is the very "sacred gift of life." We live now. We have an opportunity to make things happen now by maximising each and every moment of our precious lives. Grasp this time.
Be present in the here and now.
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