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Living in the PRESENT Moment

Updated: Mar 10

As the new year begins, I have set the intention to practice the true meaning of “presence.”  This is becoming my mantra and my focus in everything I do.  I do have smart goals with specific timelines for this year, but the core of my focus will be to be in the present moment.  Why?  Because the true meaning of living life on this earth is to be present, to really take in the experiences as they come to us.  When we are present we can see the bigger picture and have a deeper understanding of why things happen the way they do.  This understanding in turn can help reduce our stress and helps us create a healthier and happier life.

Our lives are becoming busier than before, many distractions are luring and fighting for our attention. Our levels of stress and fear have risen with modern life, and sometimes we struggle to manage our daily demands.  Modern life challenges are not here to create more distress, but to help us go to the next level of spiritual development and to have a better understanding what life on this earth is all about.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace, has a sentence that he uses in his meditations that says: “The present moment, the only moment, wonderful moment.” When I heard this sentence for the first time, many years ago, it resonated with me, and I use it in my meditations regularly to experience a deeper appreciation of the present moment.

You probably are thinking, “easier said than done”, and you are correct.  This is not easy, but it is necessary.  It requires a gentle discipline.  When I find myself thinking about everything that I must do is daunting, scary and stressful.  When I only focus on the task at hand and one thought at the time, I am peaceful, trusting, and able to see the bigger picture.  You don’t need extra time in your day to do this, you practice presence as you are living your daily life.  It does not need to be a thing you do, it becomes the way you do things.  The easiest way to begin is to focus your attention on your breath, following it in and out.  You do this for a few minutes, several times a day, especially when you are feeling stressed.  I practiced presence with one thing I didn’t like to do which was to empty the dishwasher. I noticed the plates and how they felt so clean, I brought a feeling of gratitude in my heart because I had food to put on that plate.  I noticed the colors and how each item coming out of the dishwasher felt in my hands.  This experience became rewarding and fun. I apply this presence to many areas of my life, and I use it with things that I don’t like because it decreases the stress of having to do them.

Presence is about feeling and being, not about thinking or doing.  We bring the thought into a feeling in the present moment, and we bring the doing into being.  For example, if I am taking a shower, I feel the warm water on my body, the softness of the soap on my skin, the feeling of cleanness in my body, the gratitude in my heart of being able to take a hot shower.  Many of us take a shower thinking of all the things we must do that day, the things that worry and concern us and when we are out of the shower we ask ourselves did I shampoo my hair, did I wash my back?  This experience of presence can be transferred to the many activities that we go through in one day.  Modern research is showing that when we practice presence, we are less stressed and our immune system becomes stronger.

I want to encourage you to begin today learning how to pay attention to living your life in the present moment and savor the good things that come to you and transform the ones that are not so pleasant.  Learn to become curious about the challenges that present themselves in your life because they are coming with a gift for you.  Pay attention, be present, and the gift will unfold in front of you.  Your life was meant to be lived in “the present moment, the only moment, wonderful moment.”

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