What I mean by being in the moment

I’m constantly coming across the phrase “be in the moment”. I used it myself in my post what I learned in under 150 words.

But what the hell does it mean? Simply put it means experiencing a moment without the baggage of past and future.

Try this exercise – it takes all of 5 seconds:

Breathe slowly.
Let go of your past – just for this breath.
Try to feel the air as it moves across your nose or your lips.
Don’t worry about the future – just for this breath.
Breathe again.

That’s it. You were in the moment. It’s really simple. Not easy, but simple. Repeat that simple exercise a couple of times per day for a week, and watch what happens.

12 thoughts on “What I mean by being in the moment”

  1. The best description I have ever heard of “being in the moment”, came from this podcast.

    Give it a listen at some point, Peter. You’ll be glad you did.

  2. Jesse, that’s a great link. I read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Coming to our Senses a couple of years ago. It’s a great read, and I recommend it highly.

    For those not familiar with him, here’s a quote from Kabat-Zinn’s bio:

    He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, and founder (in 1979) and former director of its world-renowned Stress Reduction Clinic.

    More about Kabat-Zinn, his work, and his books is available at his website http://www.mindfulnesstapes.com/index.html

    As an aside: why do meditation websites always look so horrible?

  3. I’ll definitely have a read. I was blown away by his practical approach. His analogy to driving was particularly perceptive, when he mentions that that’s the closest we come in our everyday lives to meditation as we are by necessity leaving things behind.

  4. Jesse – I was listening to a talk by Eckhard Tolle last night while I was out walking the dog. A guy in the audience asked Tolle the following:

    I find that when I’m sitting to meditate, I can get really present, really focussed. Then the next thing I know, I’m asleep! What can I do to prevent this

    In short, Tolle’s response was to bring awareness into everyday activities. He also used driving as an example, suggesting that every time we get in the car, we take a few seconds to just breathe and stop thinking.

    The other thing he said that really struck me was that it doesn’t matter how long you can stay present. It may be a second, it may be 30 seconds. What’s important is the frequency.

    Ravi – glad to be of service!

  5. In my own experiences with meditation/fasting/silence, etc….I have realized that it is not just the act of “meditating” (i.e. having complete focus on the present) that is of value, but in the simple awareness that you are not being present and just guiding yourself back. The awareness of your wandering mind is the goal…..not just keeping your mind from wandering (if that makes any sense!)

    A great visual I use is of clouds floating by in my mind. Every distraction is just a cloud.

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