The present moment – it is a gift, and that is why they called it the ‘present’.
This quote is true on so many levels. When we are awake, when we are aware to the present moment, we can see it for the very real blessing that it is. For the majority of people who aren’t living in fear through war or famine, who aren’t suffering from chronic pain or disease – simply being in the present moment is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. Being aware of the present moment, even when faced with such conditions, may help to alleviate suffering.
When we wake up in the morning, we can become fully aware of that moment upon waking. We can lie in bed, feeling our selves in our bodies, listening to any sounds around us. We can do a mental body scan, to see how we feel, if there is any pain or stiffness, any tightness held through residual stress. We can consciously work to try and let that go, in order to start the day right.
We get up, we go to the bathroom. We can do this with full awareness. When brushing our teeth, we hear the water flowing through the tap, we give thanks that we have clean water at our disposal when so many others do not. We brush our teeth while concentrating on the simple task of brushing our teeth. So often our minds are already in a meeting at work, that when we brush our teeth, the whole meeting is there brushing our teeth with us!
Concentrating on one task at a time not only does a better job at the task itself, but can also help us to overcome areas in our lives when we are not at the best we can be – say, due to stress perhaps, or depression. If we focus on one task at a time, taking it and really being in each moment, we do not have the opportunity to be stressed, for to be stressed we need to be thinking ahead. We alleviate our own suffering by being fully aware – in the case of depression, we may not see an end to the suffering, which brings it about in a continuous cycle. By being in the moment, we are not looking forwards or backwards, inwards our outwards – we are simply being.
By being, we are not mindless zombies – we are, in fact, more fully aware than most people by using concentration and focus in order to move about our daily existence. We will make less mistakes, we will be less clumsy. We will brush our teeth so much better. We will be mindful of each step we take, and so we will trip less, stumble less, walking in total awareness to wherever it is that we need to go.
We eat our breakfast mindfully, thankful for having food to eat. We close the door to our houses, thankful that we have a home, a sanctuary from the elements in which to live. We drive our cars mindfully, thankful that we have such luxurious modes of transportation. We work, thankful that we have a job to provide us with the means for food and shelter, as well as the opportunity to work with others, be creative, make the world a better place – whatever it is that your job entails. We do our work with full attention, whether it is sweeping a floor or updating a database. We are mindful of our posture during the work, of our breathing – we take moments to simply be, to assess our bodies and our minds.
Try doing this for an hour or so a day, then a full morning. Try to maintain awareness for as long as the sun is shining, or the rain is raining. Become more aware not only of yourself but of your environment. By doing so, you will find that life may flow more easily and that you see where you can fit in more harmoniously. Your actions will become more graceful, your movements filled with awareness and intention. Let your thoughts follow your body, flowing gracefully and with intention instead of running rampant through the mind.
Notice how this makes you feel – and if it feels good, keep doing it! May you all be gifted with the present.