In this fast moving, multi-tasking world, we often lose touch with the present moment. We constantly seem to rush ahead of ourselves with ‘What’s happening next?’ at the forefront of our minds; always on the front foot, we organize ourselves around a constant readiness to ‘do’.
As well as using up a vast amount of energy, there’s something fundamentally unsettling about this state of constantly being ready to do the next thing. It doesn’t allow us to stay long enough in the present to fully engage with it and take in the benefits. The truth is, we can plan for the future and reflect on the past, but life itself happens in the present.
We’d do well to remember that the present is where both our past and our future come from!
Paying attention to the present draws us out of the trance states of the mind and away from the scary movies we create inside our heads. This enables us to experience ourselves in relationship to the simple ‘here and now’. Just being in the ‘here and now’ is likely to make us feel more grounded and balanced because it engages the whole of us. As our senses come into play we begin to notice the sounds, sights, tastes and feel of the space around us which has the effect of anchoring us in the real world and gives us a welcome breathing space from the rabbit warrens of the mind.
Even more important, as well as integrating us, the present moment gives us choices: noticing the feel of the sun warming our face or the sound of nearby birdsong allows us to enjoy it, and noticing unhelpful thoughts as patterns enables us to choose to let them go rather than be ridden by them.
Becoming aware of feelings of sadness, anger or happiness gives us an opportunity to engage with and honor our emotions. Noticing if we are tired, hungry, thirsty, or uncomfortable makes it possible for us to get our needs met appropriately.
And there’s another almost magical thing about the present moment – it’s the one place we can pause and catch our breath from mind chatter and the constant readiness ‘to do’.
Eastern philosophy has long known the value of a balance between doing and being. The spaces in-between ‘doing’ are every bit as important – we need these precious pockets of time to process, assimilate, grow and heal.
And remember, this present moment, right now, will never happen again in exactly the same way – it’s unique.