13 Jan The Art of Living in the Now – Simple Steps to Mindful Living
“I don’t have time to be present, I have important problems to think about!” Sound familiar? Living in the present is such a simple concept but why is it so hard to achieve? At the base of all philosophical teachings is living in the Now and as the old saying goes “be in the now and you’ll know how”. Why is the moment so elusive to many of us? Why do we spend the majority of our life locked up in repetitive thinking patterns, churning over past and future thoughts when we could be sitting peacefully in the moment we are in – the only moment that ever exists.
The art of living in the Now has very simple steps but requires commitment to practice and a sense of humour to endure the times we forget. As a great teacher of the modern times Helen Kella said “If we learn to laugh at ourselves we will never run out of material.” This attitude will build a lot of humility, a key trait should we choose the path of reconditioning the mind to dwell in the present moment.
The pressure of life to get ahead, to achieve often feels like we are forced into mental patterns to find order amongst the chaos but reality is that the order is already there for you in the moment when we can be free of thought. We need our minds for many tasks but incessant thinking plagues our society and don’t serve us on many levels.
Can you turn your mind off? Stop thinking for a moment? A few moments? What is it that prevents you from doing this? Do you worry about the future causing anxiety to come up or do you get stuck on past thoughts, what somebody said to you building depression?
Don’t worry you are not alone, stinking thinking is the biggest addiction in the world and mental health issues are rising fast because of it. Whether you’re a banker, a CEO, a retailer, tradesperson or a professional of some sort we need to learn to stop the internal chatter and be free of repetitive thoughts so we can find the clarity and natural rhythm of life…
Every moment has a pulse, a beat, a flow to it. We can be in this flow or we can be in our heads. We can be so present that intuition guides us & we surrender to the power of the universe or we can try to control everything, labelling and judging our world until it makes sense, but at what price? – Often at our own happiness!
Our ability to pay attention without tension in the moment is the pathway to great peace and power we all long for. The ancient’s philosophers called this path the way of mindful living.
Mindful living means being open to the moment, befriending any situation without resistance to it, regardless of what the situation is. Working with it to make it good. That’s right, even if the situation is unfavourable, rather than resisting it, we accept it and work with it, this allows us the grace required to work through things with clarity and ease taking the emotion out of it. Mindful living involves being aware of your thoughts without judgement and starting to feel a sense of detachment for every negative thought you churn over in the mind. You are not your thoughts nor your emotions, these things can be observed, you are THAT observer…
Practice these skills and you will feel the weight of the world come off your shoulders but also become more productive, healthier, happier and feel a bright connection to every experience you have, never bored or dull again!
So how do we begin the process of quieting the mind and working towards living in the present moment? Well here are six simple steps:
- Don’t identify with your thoughts, observe them but do not base your identity out of them – You are not your thoughts (Observe)
- Stop complaining about friends, situations, other people or talking out stubborn old negative thinking patterns (Equanimity)
- Befriend the present moment regardless of what it is allow your attitude to be aligned with it. (Acceptance)
- Stop worrying about the future or entertain thoughts about the past keep your thinking in the NOW. (Presence)
- Sit still for 5-10min a day and watch your breath and thoughts, do nothing else just be still. (Mindful Meditation)
- Be ok with not knowing surrendered to the present moment. (Surrendered)