We hear a lot about ‘being in the moment’ and enjoying the NOW, but what does this actually mean? It seems as though there is a difference between understanding any given concept at the mind level versus truly putting it into practice at the level of being. So I thought why not simplify it all and run through some tips on how to achieve this?
When it comes to “being in the moment.” Often times, when we claim or attempt to be in the moment, we can more so be focused on one thing mentally which we mistake for being truly HERE. Being in the moment allows you to be aware of everything that is happening around you. You are not dreading a future time or regretting the past, you are not lost in your mind or judging anything or anyone, you are simply aware. Unfortunately, this often comes with the connotation of being very spiritual and in essence lost in space. This cannot be further from the truth and I would like to clear this up right now.
The moment is where we are most natural. By this I mean, it is where we are void of destructive thoughts, judgments and instead open to all that is going on including allowing ourselves to utilize the full potential of the mind. The moment can be an extremely powerful state of being as there you can find bliss, but is it also a place we can be in our every day lives while we are in school, at work or with friends? Yes.
- Being in the moment does not mean you are only meditating.
- Being in the moment does not mean you cannot reflect on past dates and future plans. In each moment we are creating, we can create based on adjustments of our past or from plans and goals for our future, we must do it from the moment either way. Avoid making an enemy out of the perceived past and future.
- Being in the moment does not mean you are mentally focused on just one thing. You are not lost in space.
- Being in the moment does not mean you are incapable of completing tasks and doing them very well. In fact, you are much more productive, creative and capable while you are in the moment.
- Living in the moment does not mean not thinking about your actions or choices. Too often we mistake living in the moment as simply choosing to do everything recklessly without thinking about the consequences or how these actions might affect others.
How to Find the Moment
To provide an incredibly simple image of the moment, imagine a space with no noise, I don’t mean environmental noise, but noise that comes from the incessant voice we hear in our minds that has made you a slave to its thoughts.
Here are some simple techniques to find the moment more easily in life and make it something you can keep doing easily. Understand that it does take work at first as we have become so used to thinking we are our thoughts. It wil take time to not allow our minds to continue using us all the time.
- Breathe! Taking a moment to just breathe and pay attention to the breath can often bring you out of the mind and back into your self. This is a great first step as it gets you realizing what it feels like to just be still, quiet and aware. It can be in this space that you recognize the peace that is always available to you. You can do this at any time whether you are at work, in school, driving or at home.
- Notice your thoughts. Realize that I did not say focus on your thoughts, but instead to just notice them. You can be in a park, at a mall, driving, at work etc. Do you notice that sometimes our minds are constantly going with thoughts? Thoughts about clothes, judgements, time, people and more? Notice these thoughts, observe them. When you do you will realize that they are not you as you are the one observing them. In that very moment of realizing this truth you will gain an incredible sense of power. Why? Because you have taken some of it back from your mind and ego. This will help to quiet the mind the more you practice.
- Complete daily tasks without worry. I know, we all have various things to do in a day and some of them require planning, thinking and choices. Yes, it is always great to weigh those choices, but it does not mean we have to be out of the moment to make them. Have you ever noticed that every now and then you do something and it seems to get done very well, without effort and it’s enjoyable regardless of what it was? It is likely because you were in the moment while doing this. You didn’t think about it, judge it or dread it, you were simply experiencing the task for what it was. To do this more often, first bring yourself to the moment by using the above methods. Next, do whatever task you might be doing without judging it and without worrying about how every detail will come out. Don’t think about how long it will take to get done and what you need to do next. Do the task for what it is. Off the top, we might think we will spend all day doing the task as a result, but this is the ego again pulling you out of the moment. Remember that when you are not being used by the ego and constantly distracted by its thoughts, you can become a lot more productive in an effortless way.
- Accept the moment. Sometimes we are going to feel the range of emotions we can experience. This is a colorful and exciting part of being human, but it can become an issue when we let those emotions drive us. Being too excited for an upcoming event can keep us looking forward to the future and missing out on everything happening right now. Conversely, feeling sadness and allowing it to truly become us over time keeps us stuck in it as we forget that the emotion is not truly us. In either case, use the above tips to find your way back to the moment. Don’t judge what is happening and instead feel the truth in the fact that you are here, now. While it is perfectly fine to feel the emotions, they are not you and letting them drive you will only create suffering. Accept what is happening in each moment and let it be what it is. Take steps to change things of course, but when it is out of your control, accept it.
- Take a load off. In th end, sometimes we can gain a lot by simply finding the time to just chill. Sit, don’t worry about doing anything -things you have to do in the future or how much time you have. Instead, just find the moment and be there. Observe, look at your surroundings, listen to it, feel the peace you have there. This can be a great space to go to when you had a rough or tiring day. Instead of turning to other methods like alcohol, TV, or psychoactive’s, try finding peace and solitude where it always exists. Inside of you!
One last thing, we all have different ideas of what it means or feels like to be in the moment, don’t get caught up on one idea of it, be open and try out various things to find the quite, peaceful state.