How to be Present in the Moment

Last night, I dug out an old book from my mother’s self-nurture treasury. Written in Hindi, the book’s title roughly translates to ‘Healing Your Body & Mind with Yoga & Food.’ Long title, I know!

I opened a random page in the book, and it had me captivated. The theme was mindfulness. “Sometimes, we lock our front door, step out, and much later, begin to worry if we locked that door at all,’  said the author. Yes! It’s happened to me so often…forgetting if I had switched off the heater, turned off the lights, extinguished the scented candle before leaving…

That isn’t all. This ‘not being in the moment’ extends to things like half-listening when someone is talking to you, or worrying about bills/chores while watching a movie…basically, always having something else on your mind than what you should currently be experiencing and enjoying.

This habit, the book explained, slowly but steadily aggravates the Vata dosha, which is notorious for the health havocs it can wreak. Examples: sleeplessness, nervousness, indecisiveness, inability to focus, lowered productivity, plummeting energy, depression…

The author suggested a wonderful way to harness the mind back into paying attention. Let me translate it for you. “Go out,” he said, “into an open space every morning. Just for 15 minutes. The ideal place to go to would be a garden or a lawn. Standing there, spend time observing the petals, buds, leaves, blades of grass, and the way the sunshine kisses the dew. Nature has a way of making you feel present in the moment.  If you are on the terrace, watch the clouds, the blue skies, the birds streaking by. For the rest of the day, you will feel energetic and happy deep within.

Then, at night, just before you close your eyes, think back to the events of your day, moving over everything that you did and felt slowly, like a gentle beam moving across a floor. Give thanks for all the joyous moments, and think about the lessons you learned from things that did not go your way. This is a simple and effective way to experience your day once again, summarise it in your mind’s eye. “

I thought the two tips were very doable. Tomorrow, after what seems like years, I am going to go down the stairs and take a walk in the neighbourhood park.

59 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Patricia Garcia Ces
Patricia Ces5 years ago

Wonderful post!!!

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Dianna B.
D B5 years ago

Ra S has a good point that unconscious human actions are also useful. The muscle memories that help us do things so quickly and automatically can come in handy later in life. The elderly who lose their mental memories can often get a lot from their muscle memories. In the case of my mother, who has Alzheimers, she still gets comfort from crocheting. She is no longer able to be present in the moment because her attention span is so short. Thanks for another perspective Ra S.

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Wild Thang
Wilde Thange5 years ago

What if it takes a moment to catch a moment like it takes a thief to catch a thief... and when you catch the moment the moment catches you catching it and neither of you will let go...

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Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Actually, I recently wrote my own thoughts on the subject - aimed at making especially mothers more aware and present, but transferable to everybody:

http://kirstenbergen.jimdo.com/blog-spot/2012/when-you-wash-the-rice/

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Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Good thoughts Shubhra.

Some people find 15 minutes daunting at first. It can be made much easier than that - just stop for 10-15 SECONDS to take 2 breaths - one like the ones you'd just been taking, and one deeper, fuller one. Then return to your day. You can do it once a day and already see small results, or you can do it 10-15 times a day and see much bigger results. Then be ready to move on to the longer spans of awareness.

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