Living in the now is very difficult when we are constantly distracted by email, text messages, phone calls, meetings and deadlines. But truly, we can only impact this moment and decide how we will spend it. What happened in the past, no matter how horrible it was, how ashamed or hurt you may feel, is gone. There is nothing you can do to change it. You could try to vindicate yourself, inflict pain back or be angry but that only brings the discomfort from the past into the present, this very moment you can control. Similarly, you can worry about the future but all the planning and fretting in the world isn’t going to have an impact on that because the future has not happened yet. We can take steps now to make things happen as we would like, but after that, life will unfold and not always as exactly planned.
Sounds absolutely profound, huh? But really, how much time are your thoughts on the past, perhaps justifying your actions today, or on the future, preparing for an event or time that has not happened yet. How much time are you spending on living now? Now is the only moment you can impact. How about experiencing an activity while really being present, in this moment. Experience this event as if for the first time. Restrain from being judgmental.
Being Present While You Eat An Apple
Take the act of eating an apple. Do you eat it quickly, starting the second bite before you finished the first? How about really experiencing the act of eating an apple? Be fully present while you take each bite. Make this an event and try to take 10 minutes to eat it. Chew each bite 12 times. Notice the redness, firmness and shine of the apple. Hear the crunch as you bite into it. Does it spray you as you bite it? Does the bite break away from the apple as soon as your teeth break into the skin or do your teeth have to come together to tear the flesh away? Are you feeling the coolness of the flesh in your mouth? Do you notice how the taste of the apple changes with each chew? Notice the whiteness of the flesh of the apple. Is it really white or does it have some yellow to it? Is your mind wondering on other thoughts? Come back to eating your apple and notice if you ate your apple any differently when your mind wondered off. It’s ok to have your mind wonder off, but bring your thoughts back to eating the apple.
Are you feeling the sweetness or tartness in your mouth? Are you feeling the coolness of the flesh as it goes down your throat? Notice how the shape of the apple changes after each bite. As you come to the end of eating the apple, notice the apple core. Notice its shape. When you are done, notice how your mouth feels. Notice how your stomach feels. Did your hunger level change? Are you satisfied? What are your thoughts around this activity? Did your mind wonder most of the time or were you able to stay focused on the apple? Are you able to come back to your day more relaxed and with greater clarity?
Stop The Spinning In Your Life – Being Present
Our lives can be like a gyroscope, spinning around, shape blurred, moving aimlessly around the floor. But take a finger to stop the spinning and the shape becomes apparent and the movement stops. We all need to stop the spinning in our lives in order to gain clarity. Just the act of eating can be an experience in the now that stops the spinning so that we can gain clarity. Now go take an apple to lunch and make eating it an activity, engaging with the “now-ness” of eating it. You might gain some insight and answers to a difficult situation just by not thinking about it and living now while also keeping the doctors away!