I have a bunch of thoughts about being present and in the moment, and I wanted to share how important this is to do and why. Since my mom passed away not long ago, I’ve really begun to fully grasp the necessity of living for each and every moment. And not for the reason you might think- I don’t feel necessarily like “appreciate your time, because you aren’t promised tomorrow…” etc. but rather, in my exploration of death and spirit, I have understood in a new light how to live life more peacefully and meaningfully, and how to foster an inner peace that no one can touch.
“Be in the moment” is an expression that has become cliche and overused at this point, and has, as a result, practically lost its meaning. We maybe associate it with a practice specific to yoga class, or we believe that we are living in the moment, when really our minds are anywhere but here and now. I am finally experiencing the peace- inner peace, peace of mind, and calmness- that is being fully and exclusively in each moment.
Holding on too tightly to life
Many of us, including myself, tend to want to control and grab on to everything in life. We don’t really let things flow easily through us and we therefore find ourselves stuck in certain moments and emotions. Holding on to moments, experiences, emotions, and even people is NOT being present.
We are meant to be easy going in this life- to feel the emotions, negative or positive, of each moment and then let them go. Even holding on to a positive emotion is holding on. Trying to control life in this way is unhealthy for us. It will cause unhappiness, and even sickness and disease if it persists. Just like nature shows us in so many ways- the waves crashing on a beach and falling back into the ocean, the life cycle of a flower, the rotatation of the seasons- there is a constant flow all around us, and nature is helping to teach us this lesson. If we interrupt the flow with our need to control things, and constantly live in a moment which is not this one, we are working in opposition to the flow, which eventually makes issues.
Some of us live in the past– we live in the past because it was a happier time maybe, or we feel stuck in it because something negative happened that we just can’t shake. Others live in the future– always looking forward to something more exciting or interesting than what is happening now, or thinking about the next problems/sources of stress that you know you will need to face. What about this moment that you just sacrificed for your thoughts about another which has either finished or is yet to come?
Obviously, it is important to have pleasant memories of the past, and to look forward to positive things in the future, but think of it, feel it, let it go, and always come back to this moment. This is the only place where you can find and maintain a strong inner peace– which is one of the most difficult things to capture in this life. Also by remaining in the present, you ensure that you are not holding on to anything negative. As I mentioned, holding on to negative experiences and emotions will often lead to health issues, starting with constipation- the literal “holding in” of the bowels. These health warning signs are your body trying to tell you to change the way you are doing something.
Holding on too loosely to life
On the opposite end of spectrum from holding on to life too much, is being too heavily in the spirit world. My mom and I are both guilty of this one. We have tended to think so much toward spirit, our true selves- our souls-, and how this life is not who we really are, but rather an earthly plane where we grow and evolve. If you get too “big picture” about life, you are not living in the moment either. You are, conversely, holding on too loosely too life, and not being fully in the moment.
Finding the balance
The balance between holding on too tightly and not tightly enough to life is BEING IN THE MOMENT. Centering yourself right now in this present second will bring instant peace. Once you get into the practice of bringing yourself back to the moment when you feel you have slipped away (one great way to do this is by focusing on your breath for several deep breaths), you will start to feel your day-to-day “mood”, or entire demeanor, change. You will be calmer, happier, more relaxed, and more able to extract the beauty from life, not just the challenges.
Often times, we sacrifice a potentially peaceful moment for a worry. There are, of course, sources of stress in life everyday. You can feel the worry, think about it, feel it truly, then let it go right through you. Worrying almost never aids in solving the problem at hand anyways, so all that was accomplished was wasting a moment that could have brought you peace. String together a lifetime of moments wasted on worry, and you will have let your whole life go by without once establishing an inner peace or centered happiness.
YOU control your mind. My mother always told me that this is all we have control over sometimes. We may feel powerless about certain people in our lives, or situations we are facing that are out of our control, but we do have the power over our minds. And, it turns out, this is the only power we need. Isn’t that wonderful? We can choose to be here in this moment. We can choose peace over stress. We can choose how we want to feel inside, no matter what anyone says or does to us. We can find beautiful things and moments in each day.
Since I have really been living this way, “low frequency” comments- nasty/judgemental remarks from coworkers, the lady who yelled at me on the bus, the client who tried to put me down for a mistake I made – cannot TOUCH me. Honest to god, it’s like floating above any and all negative energy around me. And I highly recommend it. 🙂
I hope that you guys try and incorporate this practice into your day. Even just a little bit to begin with. Take some breaths, and bring your attention to them. Then, as you see your life start to change, you can appreciate how this way of life is so beautiful and important.
photo of balance balls- Evonne, Creative Commons attribution license
photo of hands holding sun- Evi Christodoulou, Creative Commons attribution license