The Power Of Living In The Now
How to Live in the Present
There are many ways you can train yourself to cut links with the past and stop chasing the future so you can live in the present. This will mean some focus and effort, but the results will be well worth it.
- Try meditation. Meditation takes many forms, but the most popular one in the West, which is ideal for living in the present, is mindfulness meditation. Start with simple breathing meditation, focusing on your breathing and not following any thoughts that arise, until you can count 60 breaths without getting distracted.
- Practice mindfulness. Once you have done this, try being more mindful of what is around you, the thoughts in your mind, the breeze in your hair. Try to push all other thoughts aside that don’t relate to the thing you are focusing on. (More about mindfulness meditation in the next chapter.)
- Don’t follow your thoughts. One of the most important lessons that meditation teaches you is how to distance yourself from your thoughts and simply observe them rather than get caught up in them. You may suddenly recall something that upset you last week, or a scary experience from 20 years ago.
What you do with these thoughts is up to you. Either observe them and think about what lesson you learned from the event at the time, or simply allow the idea to go back into the vast ocean of your thoughts just like a wave falling back into the sea.
- Give up the myth of multitasking. Multitasking is a dangerous myth that prevents people from practicing mindfulness and working effectively and efficiently from moment to moment. The truth is that the brain can’t work on 2 things at once. All it can do is switch back and forth between the 2 or more tasks really rapidly.
However, this means that at the end of an hour, for example, you’ve got 30 minutes of work done on 2 tasks, and they are likely to be half finished, compared with having worked on one thing at a time and completed it, then turned your full attention to the next chore on your list.
Multitasking is a time eater, and a time waster, that prevents you from living in the moment. One could even argue that it damages your chances of a better future because few of us do our best work when we are distracted.
- Don’t follow your fantasies. When you’re at work, don’t spend your time thinking about what you are going to do with friends and family at the weekend. Get the work done. Then spend your free time on meditation and on things you like and which recharge your batteries. Treat yourself to a bubble bath before bed, or the latest novel by your favorite author. Take a walk in nature and observe everything, trees, flowers, the sounds of birds and so on.
- Stop thinking the grass is greener. Many people fail to live in the now because they are constantly chasing after the future life they want and not making the most of the present life they have. It’s easy to envy others, or try to keep up with the Joneses, but the more you have, the more cluttered your life can become. It gets focused on things rather than people, or your own self-development.
For example, it is nice to have a lovely lawn, but it requires work and ongoing expense. And after all your efforts, you might still look over at your neighbor’s lawn and decide that their grass is somehow greener. It may be, but in the end, it’s all just grass. Make the most of the life you have, and love the life you live. It’s unique to you, because you are unique.