Living in the present moment is a practice that takes time, real mindfulness and it must be exercised like anything else you are trying to build upon. During a meditation and prayer time, I stumbled upon an exercise for living in the present moment that has started a shift in my life and helped me to see the benefits of present moment living.
Until recently, had not occurred to me how often I live in thoughts that are not in the present. I’ve found that I spend a lot of time thinking of the past whether it be memories of fond times or even of times that weren’t so pleasant or thoughts of the future to moments that I envision, wonder about or even worry about.
Usually when I’m letting my mind wander outside of the present moment, I find that I’m not only missing out on what is right in front of me, but I also seem to get stressed more easily.
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Not only is this a gift to our well-being, but it is also a gift to those around us. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world we live in with social media, technology and our growing to-do lists.
We sit at meals with our phones in our hands.
Newsfeeds, emails, text messages, alerts, voicemails, computers, iPads – everything we could think about at our finger tips.
We wake up and immediately think of everything we need to get done for the day.
We work out at the gym thinking about what to cook for dinner, picking up kids, running errands or a phone call we need to make.
We worry about the could haves, would haves, should haves in every situation and ponder our circumstances, goals, dreams and responsibilities as part of our daily grind.
Sometimes we forget to just be.
I saw a quote that said, “If you want to be happy, BE.” This really resonated with me.
Just be. Be here. Be present. Be you.
Even if you can only master the art of being for 5 minutes a day, there is a re-centering quality to letting go of thoughts that take you away from the present moment.
As I was in my mediation and prayer last week, I would catch myself wandering to some of the things I just mentioned. Rather than get frustrated with myself, I decided to try something new.
An Exercise For Living In The Present Moment
As you are sitting, hopefully after a prayer, and you are sitting in stillness and quietness, pay attention to your thoughts as they happen. As they begin to drift label them as past, present or future to bring mindfulness to where you tend to go. By only attaching the label to the thought you are able to let your past and future thoughts go as you bring yourself back to the present.
This simple exercise has brought so much awareness to my thought patterns not only during my quite times, but also during normal hours of the day. As I continue to practice this throughout the day, I’ve found that I am able to live in the here and now more often. After all that IS where life is happening, right?
The benefits to living in the present extend beyond our general well being. It helps us to carry less stress around with us, which ultimately translates into better physical health, forgiveness of past mistakes and a sense of completeness and acceptance for what truly is right here, right now.
This leads to more peace because we begin to give up living for the past, which is gone and we let the future unfold as it is instead of worrying about what does not even exist yet.
I hope you will join me in this exercise to help with more mindfulness and that it brings you a bit more relaxation as it has done for me. Living in the present moment offers us all the opportunity to enjoy what IS.