Life is meant to be lived in the here and now.
One of the great wonders of our wondrous world is our ability to know past, present, and future. But it is the ability to live in the now that I want to explore today.
How do you live in the here and now?
If you cannot live in the past, or live for the future, but need to live in the here and now – and most people seem to not be capable of doing this – how is it done? Well, from my own experience, these are the things I have done/am doing/am working to do more regularly that let me live in the present.
Ask yourself questions. We ask a lot of questions daily, but how often do we ask ourselves important questions? Sure, we are constantly saying “How are you” and “What are you thinking” and “Are you feeling ok”, but how often do we ask that of ourselves? How am I? What am I thinking? Am I feeling ok? It is amazing how asking these simple questions we frequently pose to others can immediately bring us to the present moment.
We have become so concerned with appearing selfish, that we take selfless to the extreme, and truly become less of the self. This point is why, frankly, I drive at the incredible need to live more in the here-and-now than either past or future. There is no reason NOT to ask questions of ourselves, in order to be in the moment, in the here and now.
This can be a silent question – but I often find that if I ask it out loud, I am utterly drawn to the moment, to the present, in order to know the answer. The simplest questions of the self, in the moment, can help us live in the here and now.
Be aware of distractions. I find that I get distracted by outside influences and shiny things and my environment, which I know that everyone does from time to time. But if I am aware of them, I can take my focus AWAY from them, and return to the here-and-now, to be where I want to be and do what I intend to do.
Yes, sometimes we NEED distractions. I am not advocating avoiding distractions, nor ignoring them entirely – I am suggesting awareness of them.
Savor food and drink. No, really, this is VERY hard to do, in especial when you are on the internet or reading a book or even interacting with people while eating. This is a reason why many of us overeat or never feel fully satisfied by our sustenance. But really paying attention to what you are eating, and enjoying the texture and flavor puts you very much in the present. Also, really, you will be amazed how much better everything tastes.
It very much ties into being aware of distractions, but is still a separate idea.
Be more observant. How many times while you travel between points ‘a’ and ‘b’, whether you are driving or riding in a vehicle or walking, does everything between the points simply blur? How frequently can you visit a room and not notice the sounds within? How many times can you see a person, and have no means to describe their facial features, the color of their eyes, and so on? That is a lack of observation, and in our high-speed, disconnected society, we become less and less observant of things around us.
Sherlock Holmes may be been a fictional character, but the lesson one may take away from him was that he was the master of observation. He saw the most minute details of every person he encountered, and always astounded the uninitiated with what he could tell you about them. This was no super power, or other inexplicable capacity – it was extreme, detailed observation.
It doesn’t take that much to do this, really. If you start small, you will find that it gets easier to change your focus. For example, when you are driving somewhere, don’t just pay attention to the road and the speedometer and other cars on the road – see the sky, look at the trees and buildings lining the road. NOT, obviously, to the point of being distracted from driving – but so that you experience more from it.
Walking between places? Note the atmosphere around you. Listen to sounds, look at your surroundings, smell the air, feel breezes and changes in temperature on your skin, and so forth. Don’t let where you came from or where you are going to be your focus, be where you are NOW.
Asking yourself questions, awareness of distractions, enjoying sustenance and being more observant are just a few examples of ways to better place yourself in the present. There are other ways and means to do this, but these are, I think, relatively simple, and can be done by anyone, anytime, unassisted. And this ability is a real wonder of our wondrous world.
Did you ask of yourself today “How am I?”
(Note to the reader: If you also visit my blog, you will see that a previous Pathwalking is a variation of this same post. I believe the topic is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)
Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.