Being in the Now
“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.”-Eckhart Tolle
If the last few months have taught us anything it is the importance of mindfully living in the now. It is definitely not an easy task to stay in the present moment, and for many it is tempting to head down the path of what was, what could be, and the preoccupation with what will happen next? All thoughts that take us out of the present and propel us into the past or future. Over the years, many psychologists, researchers, and authors have explored the importance of being as mindfully present as possible, emphasizing its beneficial effects in lowering anxiety, stress, worry and overall unease.
There are many ways one can truly focus on the “now,” and quiet the feelings of anxiety, agitation and fear. For starters, mediation and activities such as yoga are great ways to bring focus to the precision of the “present” moment. By focusing on breath, a mantra, or a repetitive movement, one slowly trains the mind to bring any thoughts back to a single thing. Due to technology, social media and the ever-fleeting pace of society, we are constantly given messages that doing is better, our minds flitting from one “must do/see/be” thing to another. This “monkey mind” mentality has resulted in our minds swinging from thought to thought, often resulting in increased levels of anxiety and agitation. In light of this, the intention of meditation is to recognize that you are not just your thoughts, encouraging you to become an observer to the busy mind, and train yourself to witness a thought and hence, let it go. The overall intention: always bringing it back to the present moment.
Renowned author, Eckhart Tolle has spent years exploring the importance of focusing on the present moment. Tolle emphasizes that looking towards any state (past or future) other than the now is not only an illusion, but it distracts from “what is.” He goes to explain that feelings of negativity, anxiety, regret and fear that we may feel come from focusing too much on the past and future is a “non-acceptance” or resistance to the present moment and what is coming up for us emotionally. Tolle emphasizing, “Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Like our ethos at Romilly Wilde, Tolle also believes there is a lot to be learned from the nourishing power of nature, bringing our attention outside of ourselves and shifting our focus on stillness and a connection with “being” in its organic state. Tolle explains, “Nature is resplendent with the now. Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is. Let it teach you
being. Let it teach you integrity. Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”
So why not set the intention to live in the present moment as much as possible. Some top tips for focussing on the NOW:
- Go easy on yourself, living in the present is an intention not an insistent, “must do” goal.
- When you feel yourself start to worry, wander, or ponder the future, bring yourself back to the present with tangible cues – sounds, music, textures, focal points.
- Tell yourself emotions such as worry, anxiousness or regret have no bearing or control on the past or the future.
- Being in the now means possibly sitting with uncomfortable feelings.
- Become an observer of your thoughts. Question what they are and how they are trying to pull you out of the present.
- In essence, the intention for now living is less doing, and more being.