“Life happens in the space between your thoughts.” - Richard Gere
“Learn to be silent. Let your mind listen and absorb.” - Pythagoras
“Living for the moment” is sometimes confused with the notion of “living in the moment.” If one “lives for the moment” it tends to mean to forget about the consequences for current behavior. Satisfying urges now is a common theme in advertising. The message seems to be that whether it is installment payments, a hang-over or a damaged friendship it is forgivable because we were “living life to its fullest.” So what does “living in the moment” refer to?
Nothing can happen at any time but “now” – the past is gone forever and the future never arrives. It is always “now.” Through us, this moment, we choose what negativity and what value from the past we carry into the future. Our choice influences our future, but it impacts most right now. Whatever we are carrying distracts us to from the reality of what “is” this moment.
“Living in the now,” or being mindful, refers to being fully immersed in our surroundings – at one with all. To start with, this may be found for intervals by playing music, writing poetry, gardening, exercising, building models or other things. Eventually we can learn to expand this mindfulness into the “gaps” between times we can engage in an activity that centers us. There are some techniques that can be useful to help get us there. One that sounds corny, but works – when I know I am struggling with circumstances, I take a marker and put an X on my big toe in the morning. I then resolve that I am going to keep my head where that X is today. When I start to stray, I remind myself of where the X is and ask myself why my mind isn’t there. Another that helps is being aware of the space around us that allows things to “be” – nothing can exist without the space that allows it to exist. This helps us to “see” (be aware of) everything without “looking” (attaching) to anything. We can “hear” (be aware of) everything without “listening” to (judging) anything. There are other things that help bring us fully into the moment, but most important is that we try. Each of us develops our own techniques over time, and before you know it we are starting to be present for our life more moments than not. This is important because the only moments we truly live are those that the internal dialogue is shut off and we are fully present, aware, engaged and experiencing life exactly as it is that moment.
Today, may I be where my feet are.
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