If you think back of the best times of your life, you might realize that those moments were when you were living in the moment.
The only problem is, most of us spend every day of our life thinking about what was and what will be. In the meantime, we’re totally oblivious to BE in the moment.
But does it matter at all if we can or cannot live in the moment? And what does this all mean anyway?
Why Living in the Moment is so Important?
“Life is available only in the present moment.” Thich Nhat Hanh
A very easy quick answer to this question would be that’s because “the moment” is ALL we have to live. We can’t live in the past, because it’s past and over with, and we can’t live in the future because it doesn’t exist yet.
Even if you were the richest and most powerful human being on this earth, there is no price you could pay for having a minute back or for going somewhere in time that doesn’t exist yet. And this is because the PRESENT is ALL we have. We’d better take full advantage of it NOW.
But a very important reason why we need to learn to live in the moment, is that it’s a close relative to happiness. Ask any successful and happy people you may know, and they’ll tell you that one thing they are doing is they “live in the moment.”
Haven’t you heard that statement before? I am pretty sure you have. But did it mean anything to you at all?
What does it mean, really, to live in the moment? We are going to discuss this in detail below, but before let’s see why it it’s kind of hard for most people to do so.
Why it’s not Easy to Live in the Moment?
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ~ Bill Watterson
If you can, start to observe your own thoughts and behaviors, and see what happens.
Do you catch yourself thinking about what happened last week, yesterday or even years ago a lot? Do you think about the good old days – a lot? Or do you think about how things will turn out – a lot? Where are you going to be in five years from now? Where your children will be in five years from now, etc.
While there is nothing wrong to reflect on the past and thinking of the future, it’s not healthy if ALL you do is thinking about the past and the future, because it prevents you to live in the moment. In the present.
You’re thinking you’re not doing that! Think again.
If your mind is never where your body is, it will make your life more chaotic, more difficult, less enjoyable and more forgettable. In the end, it will prevent you from enjoying life all together, because remember, you can’t live in the past and you can’t live in the future, but if it’s where your mind is all the time, what happens to your life now?
For the most part, what makes us not live in the moment are our worries, our pains and other negative feelings and emotions. Because when things are great, those are the moments we do live in the now. Then they become good memories that we relive over and over when life start to suck again, and we start forgetting to live in the moment again.
What Exactly is Living in the Moment?
“You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is…now.” ~Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
Living in the moment is being fully conscious of where you are with all your senses, and taking it all in.
You don’t have to be in a happy state to live in the moment, it could be any situation, some good and some maybe not so good. But it’s important for your growth as a human being that you learn to accept what’s going on at the moment, and taking it in as it happens.
I’m not saying, if you’re suffering, make sure you take it all in and enjoy it. I’m saying live it and go through it. You will come out stronger than ever. It will help you grow and you will get to know yourself so much better.
Avoiding to live in the present, when the present is painful, is the very reason why some people fall into addictions.
They have a problem, but they don’t want to live through it, or face it as it is. And it’s too much for them to avoid the NOW by just living in the past or future in thoughts, so they stone themselves in order to escape the “moment” which is so very uncomfortable to them.
They escape their now in the worse possible way. Not only they’ll never grow from whatever they’re going through, but they’ll end up being dependent on their drug (whatever that may be) with more problems (bad nows) to flee from.
A bad vicious circle to be in.
Now, I’m not saying that’s always easy to live in the moment, because if you are not in the habit of doing so, it might actually be like a coach potatoes starting to exercise. Yes, it could be tough for some, but anything that you’ve never done before is tough anyway.
The first time you walked was tough. The first time you talked was tough. The first time you grew a tooth was tough, even the first time a woman gives birth is tougher than the second time she gives birth.
So we get that!
Starting to live in the moment when you’ve spent a life time avoiding to do so, always being somewhere else in thoughts, wondering about what went wrong with that meeting yesterday or what you’re going to make for dinner tomorrow as a daily habit, can make living in a moment a tough exercise at first.
However, you can do it, one step at the time. This is how…
Live a Moment at the Time
“A life is measured by moments like these” ~ Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver
Do you remember when you first started walking or talking? Well, maybe you don’t remember, but what you did was taking it a step or two at the time, and only saying a word or two at the time.
To get into the habit of living in the moment, you should take the same approach.
Choose a moment or two of your day to BE in the NOW.
Let’s take a very simple example like opening a door. This is an exercise that life coaches like to use a lot, because we all open at least one or two doors in the course of day. The average person is going to open more than that.
Do this exercise…
As you open a door, do not allow yourself to be anywhere else but in THAT MOMENT.
Just before putting your hand on that door knob, take a big breath and become fully aware of where you’re standing. How does the floor feel to your feet? How does the room smell, how does the temperature feel?
Now, grab that door knob and take the time to feel it. What shape does it have, and how does it feel in your hand? Feel its smoothness or roughness. Feel its temperature; is it cold to the touch?
Then open the door.
As you’re stepping into that new room watch yourself as you’re stepping from one room into the next. Is there a temperature difference? Does the air smell different? Does the floor feel different to your feet?
Make sure you’re taking it all in, and fully live that moment, each time you open a door during the day. Ane make sure you’re taking it A DAY AT A TIME.
No matter how much you’re going to go back in your thoughts and inner chatter for the rest of the day, give yourself that ONE moment each time you open a door.
Life is about habits, and if you get into the habit of doing this each and every day, each time you open a door, you will end up doing it automatically after about 21 days. In about a month time, you will be more AWARE of what living in the moment really means, and you will be better able to do so.
Why Should you Bother?
Why should you even bother with such exercise and strive to live in the moment?
Because it’s one of the key to happiness and growth.
However, there is nothing I could say or write to fully make you grasp that concept, only if YOU try it yourself will you fully become aware of what I’m trying to convey to you right now.
So, do yourself a favor. If you don’t really live in the moment day by day, start doing this exercise, and start living in the moment more and more often. Then, and only then will you be able to understand what living in the moment can do for you and for your life.
Your Turn Now…
Do me a favor and answer these couple of questions; do you find it easy to live int he moment? How often do you realize that you are truly living in the moment?
Please, let me know and add any thoughts or input you may have. It’s all good!
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