As someone who is truly a work in progress when it comes to living in the now, I often feel unqualified to write on this topic, but maybe that is where most of us seem to be in our lives. I think we all want to make this more complicated than it really is, expecting that for us to live in the now we must become enlightened in some way. I am going to take a simplistic approach to helping you live in the moment and offer only two things to work on:
1) Meditate – You can say I am living in the moment, concentrating on what is going on right now, and not playing some future script of you life in your head, but you are really just brainwashing yourself with positive thinking. We all need to learn to meditate to teach our mind to live in the moment. You say well that should be easy, but I say it is much more difficult than you may think. My first couple experiences attempting to meditate last 5 or 6 minutes and it seemed to be much longer than that at the time. It seems to be relatively common knowledge that for the benefits of meditation to take hold you need about 15 – 20 minutes a day. Although even 5 or 10 minutes can be beneficial, but make 15 – 20 minutes your goal. There is nothing like meditation to help you live in the moment. You may consider yourself just too busy to meditate, I’ve often thought that myself and then I think about the the old zen proverb:
If you don’t have time to meditate for 15 minutes …Then you need to meditate for an hour!
2) Simplify – You might just consider simplifying your life by starting to say “NO” to people, and to the desire to do everything, to make everyone happy, and to have everything. As long as you buy into the program that you can have it all and do it all, which is really bullshit by the way you will never stand a chance of focusing your attention on the moment. Pick the 3 or 4 things that are really important to you and start focusing on them, and forget about the rest. This will put you in the mindset that focusing on the present is the most important thing you can do because you don’t feel like you need to do it all anymore. Too many priorities just makes that much more noise in you head and make it difficult to focus on the present.
There are other ways to move towards living in the moment, but these two are highly effective. I didn’t say either learning to meditate or simplifying your life are easy to achieve, but I do believe that they are effective tools in helping you live in the now. This is my focus right now in my own life. I am determined to move my mindset to the now by meditating and simplifying my life. In the next installment on this topic I would like to make a case why living in the now will actually make you more productive, happier, and maybe even more successful.