The answer might surprise you.
Like most of us, I spend a lot of time living in my head: thinking, planning, anticipating, dreaming, reflecting, reacting. Akin to watching TV reruns or previewing movies that may never be made, many of my thoughts are about something that has already happened or something that might or might not happen in the future. I also spend a lot of time thinking about life. About the nature of it, the nature of people, what makes life good, what makes it challenging, what is in our hands, and what is not, and how to get the most out of ourselves and our lives. A couple of weeks ago (on a run of course) I was thinking about thinking. And it dawned on me very viscerally that while thinking is part of human greatness – society wouldn’t exist without it – when we spend all our time in our minds, we miss out on something very important: LIVING My friends, thinking is not living.
Where is living? Living exists only at this moment RIGHT NOW. It is, after all, all that we actually have.
It is in this moment alone that we can feel our feelings. It is in this moment alone that we can connect with the Divine and our spirit. It is in this moment alone that we can make choices. It is in this moment alone that we can feel the warm breeze and smell the fragrant flowers. It is in this moment alone that we can hold another human being in our arms. It is in this moment alone where the beauty, joy, meaning, pain, pleasure, and colors of life exist. It is in this moment alone that we find ourselves. Everything else is just an artifact.
Living in NOW
- Imagine all you have is the next five minutes. That’s it. That’s all you have. What would you do with that five minutes?
- Do a body scan. Sit or stand quietly and scan your body from face to feet. What do you feel? Where do you feel it? Now take three slow, deep breaths, focusing on a longer exhale. What do you feel now?
- Bring your full attention to the scene around you. Notice shapes, colors, airflow, sounds, how your body fits into the scene. Use as many of your senses as possible to take it all in and really feel your surroundings.
- Give or get a hug. A warm embrace from a trusted person (or pet!) is grounding and lands you back in your body and in the moment.
- Exercise. Moving gets you out of your head and grounds you in the now.