There's no doubt about it. We live in a busy, often chaotic world. In between work; meetings; taking the kids to school, and housework there's all these thoughts whizzing through our heads like cars on a freeway...
"What should I cook for tea tonight?" "Must remember to take out the bins - was it green or yellow?" "Have to try and squeeze in going to the bank before taking Jimmy to swimming lessons tonight." "Did I remember to turn my hair straightener off?" "What should I make for the family get-together this weekend?" "What should I wear?" "I still need to buy a present for Ann's birthday next week?"
...and on and on it goes. Before you know it, your mind becomes like an overloaded computer, trying to process so many things at one time that before you know it, it simply cannot cope with all of these demands. It eventually crashes.
We live in a time where we're always thinking about what's happening next. We walk through our days mentally calculating and prophesising about things that must be done; that may happen, or to those things that are to take place in the future. The problem with this is that the future is uncertain. There is no use giving mind to the what if's when we could be living with the what nows. In other words, we must learn to be mindful - to live in the now.
If we fail to live in the now, we'd be living in a constant state of anxiety. The latter would zap all of our energy; our confidence, and our peace of mind. Such hiccups would cause us to live in a state of flux. We'd all be highly strung and unable to make logical decisions, letting beautiful opportunities pass us by - all because we're too fixated on an imagined outcome that is to take place days, weeks, months, and even years out into the future.
Can you think of times that should have brought you peace and happiness, but instead were filled with fear and anxiety, because you were too busy worrying about things in the future?
Have you ever gone for a walk along a river, and failed to notice the beautiful songs of birds singing because your internal mental chatter was too loud to hear it? I am guilty of this. I'd say the majority of the population are too. It is human nature to practice caution...to plan ahead. However, if we give too much thought and fixation on the future, the beauty and wonder of our present moment passes us by with every tick of the clock. We must slow down, breathe and practice mindfulness at every opportunity we get to avoid crashing or burning out.
Living in the now is simply that. Focusing all of your awareness on the present moment...
"How am I feeling right now?" "Am I relaxed or feeling tense?"
"What can I hear? Smell? Feel? See?"
Take a moment right now to sit down where you are and close your eyes. Notice your breathing. Is it calm and controlled, or short and sharp? Notice the sounds in your immediate environment. What can you hear?How does this make you feel?Are there birds singing? Maybe you can hear rain or wind, or absolute quiet. Now when you open your eyes, give mind to what you can see. Examine the texture of the wall in front of you...what colour is it? If you're near a window, what can you see outside?
Mindfulness is something that must be practiced. Whenever you feel yourself beginning to worry or feel anxiety about the future, acknowledge this and begin to mentally examine what you can hear, see, smell, and feel in this present moment. Next time you decide to go for a walk, admire the beauty that surrounds you. Enjoy the colours of the trees; the smell of the air, and the patterns of the clouds. Take enjoyment and happiness in the now, because as Buddha stated so wonderfully:
"The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There's only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment."