How To Catch These Fleeting Moments? Here and Now.
“You call it moment – I call it life” Pitbull
This is something we all have in common.
We say: “How is it possible it is the end of 2014? It supposed to last forever!”, “It seems like it was just yesterday…”, “It’s 5:30! Where did the time go? I must have been abducted by aliens!”
Your schedule is your life.
One day, few years ago, I became painfully aware of this simple idea that my schedule is my life. I certainly didn’t want my life to consist mostly of the stress. I immediately, and I mean it – the same day – started making changes, to schedule more things that I truly enjoyed, things with meaning, things that mattered to me. Initially I went overboard with it, but later some balance was found. Still this wasn’t the most important. One thing is “what” we do, another “where” our mind is at that time. We can be lost also in those pleasant activities.
How can we catch the moment? How do we make it memorable, special, meaningful, so looking back we won’t feel that the time was wasted? While I’m not sure if this is completely avoidable, below is what helps me. And a note of explanation: it is not about DOING something special, but it’s rather about the mindset. I remember being a child I heard dreadful comments like “this is the grey reality”, “grey everyday life” and rebelled in my 10 year old mind against being part of anything of that sort. But as the zen proverb say: “Before enlightenment we chop wood, we carry water. After enlightenment: We chop wood, we carry water.” We do what we need to do, but we can choose what and how we experience it.
So what really, really helps to “catch” the moment?
1. BEING HERE. NOW.
If you practice it daily, you know I could end here.
But if absent-mindedness and lost time are your frequent regrets, read further. How do you do “here and now”?
a. Stop several times a day just to take a breath. Fully, deeply, consciously.
We connect with the present moment through our breath. The breath brings our awareness back to here and now. Focus on what feels in your chest like expansion which the conscious breath creates. (vs constriction that you might have felt before). Focus on how the breath creates oneness ( and how different it may feel from separateness).
Of course the most difficult will be to remember to do it. When we remember to connect with our breath, (and we learn it fast because it brings peace) the rushing, the tension, worrying have no chance to last more then few moments, few minutes.
b. Release the tension in your shoulders while you inhale, exhale.
You can stop here if all you have is 30 SECONDS. But there is more:
c. Observe the moment. Take a mental picture of what is around you.
Connect with the surroundings with your senses. Simple. Notice the colors, texture, sounds, especially if you you can observe nature. (Maybe you can even start feeling grateful for what you see and hear, and for the fact that you are here. Now.) You don’t need to do anything for sense of smell to kick in…
Even now when I’m writing at my desk, I stop every few minutes to look outside at the sunny December sky, maturing tangerines on a very old tree, and at the autumn colors on the neighbor’s trees. And I focus completely on them.
d. Observe your mind: what’s going on in there?
Did you worry? Were you rushing? Did you feel your shoulders and neck getting tense? When you notice it, take a breath, relax shoulders, straighten your back. If your thoughts were creating the tension, change their direction.
Yesterday I caught myself rushing out of the house dropping keys and forgetting stuff, and my legs barely kept up after me. It lasted few minutes when I noticed that and came back to the moment. Today I realized I’m tense – due to my thoughts- while being in the middle of the intersection. Though the thoughts were probably piling up for few minutes, the moment I noticed what they are doing – shifted everything – I came back to here and now (there and then) to restore my calmness and attention.
BUT THERE IS MORE
Smile. Unless you are with those who naturally bring smile to your face, we may not remember about it. Spend couple moments looking in the mirror. Find pleasure in contemplative activities. Schedule time for them. And dance.
Being here and now allows us to access easier our inner wisdom and to expand the moments of peace.
What is your experience with staying in the moment? Please share in the comments!