Living in the now. At about this time of year, some months after New Year’s resolutions have been made and kept, or made and neglected, one thing is undeniable: we have a chance to learn and grow every day, no matter what we didn’t do yesterday or neglected to do last week.
Make use of this moment
Making use of this moment, of the NOW, is a principle that stress management experts, psycho-therapists, mediators, and many authors such as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Eckhart Tolle have been talking and writing about for years.
The only moment, the only life we have is in the NOW. What happened a few moments or several years ago is gone, what will happen this evening, or next month when we go on holidays is not here yet. Thus, if we live our lives thinking about past events or future possibilities, we are literally not living our life.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a wonderful little book “Finding Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” which addresses the issue of the importance of remaining in the moment, of the inestimable value we can find in those activities that cause us to “go into flow”, or lose our sense of time.
When you discover what those activities are in your life, they need to be developed. Is it music, writing, or painting, or another creative activity? Is it being outdoors and practicing some kind of sport? Is it working on your computer or editing digital movies? Perhaps you are an avid reader, observer of documentaries about the hunch-backed camel, or participant in the Dakar rally and spend all year preparing. Whatever it is, cultivate it, make it expand in your life, and use it to enrich yourself. These activities are priceless ways of being – and remaining – in the now.
But that is not all.
Nurture the Now at all times
Being in the now needs to be nurtured at all times. The more time you spend in the now, the more you actually live your life. Yesterday – and even just one short hour ago – is gone. Tomorrow is not yet here. Now is what we have. Now is the time of our life. Now is the time for living.
Start by gently bringing yourself to this moment more and more often on a daily basis. If you are at work, with your partner or family, or simply running errands, become aware of what you are doing, actually participate consciously in your daily activities … don’t just get through them in order to be able to do something else later on. Doing that means that you have lost this moment forever.
Stay in the Now
By staying in the now, notice how you seem to have more time. Notice how you feel less stressed. Notice all that is potentially enjoyable, positive, or could be a latent learning experience in the now moment. Even if you are going through a difficult situation, remain aware and in the now in order to better understand what is happening and in order to get to know yourself more intimately by observing your feelings, thoughts, and possible reactions.
Live here rather than in the past or the future. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit, and the more you will truly live your life, rather than just live on memories of past glories or future hopes and plans.