To a large degree, the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we can live in the present moment. Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are–always! -Richard Carlson
This is a surprisingly difficult concept to grasp, it seems. This present moment, right here and right now, is the only moment that truly matters, and what we do with this moment is what will determine how our lives turn out. And our present moments happen repeatedly- we’re forced to decide constantly what we will do with our right here and our right now.
I can most definitely spend right now planning for tomorrow. I recently spent a series of present moments making plane reservations for the spring, when we’ll visit family. But that’s the exception rather than the rule–one of the most important things I can do for myself is to be aware of my present moments as present moments and do all that I can to be present in them, noticing what there is to see, appreciating all there is to enjoy.
I think this is one of the beauties of taking walks. A walk is a break from routine, and that break helps us focus on the here and now. My wife and I took a walk yesterday, and we saw spiders, birds, rabbits, a beautiful snake, a river, trees with turning leaves, and much, much more. And we noticed it all–or at least, as much as we could. And we felt the breeze and the temperature change when we hit a shady stretch of the path. We heard the birds singing and the crickets chirping, and all it all, the walk was wonderful–mostly because we were focused on the present moment and what it brought to us.
The critical thing to remember, though, is that we don’t need to change our surroundings to be present in the moment. We need to change our perspective and our ways of experiencing where we are and what we’re doing. We need to notice things that we don’t typically notice, and we need to listen and look with care, being mindful of as much as we can. Then we can say that we’re living in the present moment because then we’re aware of most of the beauty and wonder that moment offers us. And we have to trust that what we do at this moment is worthwhile, as long as we do it with our hearts and do our best to give what we can to the world–for the world definitely will give back to us in the form of the many present moments that we experience.
Questions to consider:
What beautiful things are with you now in your present moment? What’s there that you can be grateful for?
How do you define “reality”? How often are you present in reality?
Where do many people spend their time if they’re not spending it in reality, in the present moment?
For further thought:
You spend very little time in the present moment.
Reality exists only in the present moment.
Therefore, you spend very little time in reality. -Leonard Jacobson