be present

Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves

in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.

Thich Nhat Hanh

You may have been told a time or two that you need to spend more time in the “present moment,” but you don’t really know what that means. Present moment thinking has been one of the central tenets of eastern religions for thousands of years.

Many Westerners are tempted to just push aside any thoughts related to Eastern philosophies because they think it may be a threat to their core religious beliefs. There are no religious impositions involved here. The present moment is available to everyone, in every single moment of every single day, no matter who you are, or where you are. In fact, most religions, in some manner, agree with the premise that we should be living in this moment, and not in the past or future.

What is “the present moment”?

The present moment can be defined as having all of your attention being solely on what you are doing right now. It is when you are not thinking about “other things.” For instance, if you are washing the dishes, your mind is fully focused, and you are aware when you start the faucet, grip the sponge, and wipe the plates clean. There are no other thoughts in your mind other than what it is you are doing in the moment.

While staying in the present moment may seem boring at times, you have probably already felt its power without really knowing it. Have you ever been outside enjoying nature and had a feeling of peace flood over you? Have you ever stared up at the sky and stars and contemplated the meaning behind “it all?” The past and future evaporate for a just little while, and the only thing that is important in that moment is the “now.”

Staying in the Present Moment

The process of staying in the present moment may take some practice. If you try for any length of time to stay fully present, your mind will likely try to pull you out of it or away from it. This is because thoughts about the past and future are constantly creeping in. This can be a source of frustration, but you must resist the urge to judge yourself since that negative emotion defeats the whole purpose of the exercise.

Be aware that your mind will reach out for the past and future. But be prepared to let go of those thoughts when they come to you. The more you practice remaining present, the easier it will become for you.

Practicing Meditation

Meditation is an art that is not only reserved for Eastern religions. It is a method of bringing yourself into the present that is available to you at all times.

Here are some quick tips to follow when beginning meditation:

  • Choose a time of day when you can relax and be alone.
  • Sit in a position that gives you good posture.
  • Concentrate on your breathing.
  • Take deep breaths in and out and focus only on your breath.
  • Try to meditate for at least 30 minutes each day. You will need to work your way up to this. Start with 5 minute blocks and add on as you get better at it.
  • Resist the urge to fall asleep.

You will find that you get better at meditation with practice. Don’t give up on yourself! Every session may not feel as good as the last, but it is important to stick with it.

Meditation will help you get to know yourself, your mind and your body better. You will be able to maintain awareness for when your mind is in an agitated state, and you will also be able to place greater and better focus on fixing your issues and moving toward your desired goals.

Simply stated, developing a present moment mindset can bring you more peace and fulfillment in your life. Isn’t that worth a little practice?


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