Recently, I have gained more and more interest in focusing on the present moment.
When I first read and heard about this idea, I was hit with a strong realization. There is nothing new in this concept though. I think, most people already know it or have an inkling of it. But, then again, it is what we know that we tend to ignore.
I got to know about it 2 years ago and have seriously taken it up since the last few months. What I have seen so far has made me excited enough to share this with you. I think there is a lot more I am going to learn in the coming months and I would keep sharing my experiences with you.
When I try being aware of my thoughts and try to bring them to focus upon the current moment, I realize how much of my mental capacity I have been spending in unplanned, involuntary thinking. There are some voluntary, deliberate moments when I am planning things and visualizing. But, a lot more time is spent in replaying the past in my head, mental role playing in future events and worrying about unfinished tasks. I had never realized how much useless mental chatter was going in my mind until I really focused on my mental process. I was so used to thinking constantly that it seemed normal and I didn’t even notice it, I did it automatically.
Is this true for you too? If yes, read on.
You might wonder what difference does it make. Well, there are prices to be paid for this lack of control on thought.
According to Eckhart Tolle, past and future are just imaginary constructs, they don’t exist. Thinking about them is a wastage of time and energy. What you experienced in the past was, in fact, experienced in the present moment at some point in time. Future is totally fiction, it hasn’t even occurred yet.
Involuntarily thinking about future is not to be confused with visualization. To consciously use visualization to create your future life is different from unconsciously, involuntarily thinking of what might happen. Visualization is good to attract our desired goals. Mindless thinking only drains our energies.
When you think incessantly about past and future, you don’t give your best to life, nor do you enjoy it fully. You don’t have any control on either past or the future. The only thing you have control on, the present, you miss.
The present moment is the only window in which you can operate. This is the only moment in which you interact with the real world. It is only by giving full attention to this moment that you really experience life consciously. It is only this moment in which you can work towards your goal. Give it your full attention, bring your attention back from the darkness of the past and the vagueness of the future. Bring it back to the only place where it really can make a difference.
Uncontrolled mental activity causes us to live less voluntarily, less intentionally. Your life is governed by what you think. You, ultimately, become your thoughts. If your thoughts are uncontrolled, your life would be too.
Eckhart Tolle also says that there is always and always just one moment, Now. Now is all that there is. If we just keep our focus on the present moment, we find that there are no complex problems in life. The present moment is always very simple, there can be only one thing that requires my immediate focus now. There is only one thing that I can do now.
Many people live for the next moment, to find a better moment that provides more stimulation than this one. They work towards it, not paying any attention to the beauty of the present moment. They sacrifice their happiness in the present to create happiness in an imaginary future. When they do achieve their goal at some point, they still can’t enjoy it for long, because they have formed a habit of working for happiness in the future. They will again find something that they need to do for future happiness.
What to do
Practice living mindfully. Try to bring your attention to the present moment. Observe how are you feeling right now. Look at your surroundings. Touch something, observe it, feel its texture, see all its colors. It might not come easy at first. To let go of all thoughts and feel the present moment is something totally new for you. You mind, your ego will yell at you, try to make you believe there are very important problems to think about. You will get pulled back to the comfort zone of your thoughts. You will have to bring your self back to the present moment. This back and forth continues. Don’t fret over it, just calmly bring your attention back when you realize it went away.
When you try to let go of the mental chatter and focus on the present moment, you immediately see how good it feels. Right away, there is a sense of clarity in your mind. The world seems almost new, simple and less threatening. There is a fantastic feeling of calm and inner peace.
For me, it leads to stress free work and I know that I am giving my best to whatever task I am doing. It immediately lifts my mood, makes me feel more alert, alive and vibrant. I have just started a few months back and still find it daunting, my mind keeps jumping back into thinking. But I think I am getting better, and happier
Peace be to all.