Now, put up your hand if your mind is going a mile-a-minute, 24 hours a day. Whoa, baby! Same number of hands!
When I ask people how they’re doing, quite often the response is, ‘busy.’ Sometimes they say, ‘busy, busy, busy!’
Wow! What about ‘awesome’ or ‘fantastic’ or ‘couldn’t be better?’ (You should see the looks I get from people when I tell them I couldn’t be better. They always smile, but it’s with that smile that implies, ‘you’re nuts!’)
When people say ‘busy, busy, busy,’ I just want to run … far away! Seriously! They scare me. I don’t want to catch whatever it is they’ve got.
A couple of years ago, I read a book by Sakyong Mipham called Turning The Mind Into An Ally. Mipham talks about a ‘walking’ meditation practiced by Buddhists, where you don’t take a step unless you are only thinking about taking that step. I decided to practice a variation of this technique (otherwise, I never would have gotten off the front step). While I am walking (usually along the lake), I say, “Now I am placing my mind in the present moment.’ Then I take a deep breath and simply look around, observing, (without thinking) for as long as I can.
When I do this, the feeling is euphoric. Things appear in 3-D. Colours are more vivid. Sounds are more distinct. And I feel energized.
More recently I have been studying Eckhart Tolle (his whole life is about living in the now) and I have made ‘living in the moment’ a continuous practice. It’s not easy, because the mind (aka, the ego) wants to do its own thing. But the benefits are amazing. I am sleeping better. I am happier. And I am more energetic. And I love it!
There are three things you can do to practice living in the moment:
- Focus on your breath. Breathe in (listen to the sound) and exhale (listen to the sound). You can do this anywhere, anytime. It works because you can’t think and focus on your breath at the same time.
- Completely focus on what you are doing. For example, when you are making the bed, focus entirely on it. Feel the sheets in your hands. Notice the sounds. It’s much easier to focus on what you are doing if you really enjoy it. That’s why I like playing the guitar. It’s amazing how fast two hours can disappear.
- Look up. It’s much easier to stay present when you are looking up. You observe more and think less. Try it.
When you live in the present moment, you are never busy, you just are!
Have an awesomely present day!