Why We Should Always Live In The Moment
Due to the problems and threats we face in life, we sometimes find it comforting to wish that we were in another place or another time. We sometimes wish that we were doing something else or perhaps living a different life or working a different job.
Whilst we may find comfort in such wishful thinking, it is merely temporary and does very little to address the root issues that are the source of unhappiness and dis-contentedness in our lives. When faced with unpleasant circumstances, whether at work, in business or in our personal lives, the solution can best be found by living in the moment. By firmly rooting the basis for the solution to life's problems in the present, we are able to make decisions that accurately reflect our present situation, using the facts at hand rather than wishing for decisions we never made in the past or ones we will make in the future.
We Live A Dynamic Existence
The reason I am emphasising living in the moment is that our lives are hardly static- They are dynamic in nature. With each second that passes, one thing or another would have changed in our lives and if we live in the past or in the future, we will miss the opportunity to deal with reality in its totality. It may even be argued that the self that made a decision yesterday, is never the self that faces the consequences of that decision at a latter time because not only are our lives dynamic, but also the individuals living them. As individuals, we are constantly changing both at the cellular level as we age and carry out our biological processes and in the way we perceive the world around us and also in the way we perceive ourselves. Hence, it is only reasonable that we should have a dynamic mind-set, a mind that is flexible to respond to the changes in our lives and the best way to do this is to live in the here and now- to live in the moment.
We Should Not Neglect The Past Nor The Future
Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that the past should be relegated to the past and neither am I saying that we should not pay attention to the future. On the contrary, I am of the view that we should use the past and the future as points of reference when living our lives in the moment. The past is full of experiences and encounters that we may use in the present moment to better help us make decisions in our lives. By drawing on these experiences, we are able to make better decisions in the moment. The past also grants us the power of hindsight which enables us to anticipate how others are likely to behave or react in certain situations. The future on the other hand is useful for contemplation and making plans. How else will we be able to focus our actions in the present? By forming future plans, we are able to make definite plans which we execute in the present moment. The trick however, is to remember not to actually live our lives in the future but to exist in the present moment.
Living In The Moment Helps Us Concentrate and Reduces Stress
Existing in the moment is far from easy. When we are at work, our minds are busy thinking about being with friends or family or at some leisure activity and when we are in these other places we are continuously thinking about work. The mind seems to distract itself with everything but the present moment. If we can cultivate the tendency to exist in the present moment, we would be better able to apply ourselves to the task at hand and focus on getting things done whilst being fully engaged in whatever we are doing without distractions. This better ability to concentrate would mean increased productivity at work or in our businesses and better involvement in personal relationships. This is particularly important in our modern working lives where professional activities are always competing with personal ones for our time and attention. At the end of the day, practising to live in the moment should significantly cut down on stress as we are better able to balance our work and personal as well as family commitments.
Living In The Moment Is A Habit
It is not easy to live in the moment. Speaking from personal experience, it can actually be almost impossible to do it all the time. The mind tends to wonder into the past or the future and staying there, instead of being firmly grounded in the present. Ideally, we should be conscious enough of our state of mind to become aware when we are drifting and living in the past or the future, instead of the present. We should consciously make the effort of using the past and the future as reference points that guide our present decisions. This requires training of the mind to consciously do this. Meditation is a good tool to help the mind get centred in the present. There are several forms of meditation techniques that help in training and centring the mind with most methods concentrating on breathing. Whatever method you choose to help you in centring the mind in the present, it will help you in becoming more focused and mindful of your surroundings. Like with all habits, you will get better at it in time and see more of the benefits in your life the more you practice.
Starting To Live In The Moment
To help you start living in the moment by developing mindfulness, I suggest picking a meditation technique and start practising. I for one, practice Zen Meditation. It is interesting that once you start practising, you realise how hard it is to just sit still and focus on your breathing. Even though I have been at it for a while, every time I meditate, I always feel an “urgent” need to get up and do something else, even when I have no other pressing engagements. From what I understand, this will go away with time as I practice. Regardless of your approach to help you on your journey to training your mind to live in the moment, it is important to remember that the past exists only in our memories and the future only in our plans and that we really only have the here and the now. Irrespective of what our past says, or our vision for the future, we can only make effective changes to our lives by acting appropriately in the present moment. For it is how we act in the present moment that determines both our future as well as our past.