Saturday, June 26, 2010

THE ART OF NOW: SIX STEPS TO LIVING IN THE PRESENT

I have found the following beautiful piece of writing about 'living in the present' by Jay Dixit in Psychology Today.

Quoting Dr Ellen Langer at Harvard University, & author of 'Mindfulness':

"Everyone agrees it's important to live in the moment, but the problem is how... When people are not in the moment, they're not there to know that they're not there."

As Jay Dixit puts it at the beginning:

Overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to the present takes intentionality and practice.

Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can't pursue it for its benefits. That's because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox. Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get it...

In a gist, here are a few strategies to help you along...

1: To improve your performance, stop thinking about it (unselfconsciousness).

2: To avoid worrying about the future, focus on the present (savoring).

3: If you want a future with your significant other, inhabit the present (breathe).

4: To make the most of time, lose track of it (flow).

5: If something is bothering you, move toward it rather than away from it (acceptance).

6: Know that you don't know (engagement).

I like the epilogue, which I reckon sums up the essence beautifully:

"... Mindfulness isn't a goal, because goals are about the future, but you do have to set the intention of paying attention to what's happening at the present moment. As you read the words printed on this page, as your eyes distinguish the black squiggles on white paper, as you feel gravity anchoring you to the planet, wake up. Become aware of being alive. And breathe. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath, the stream of heat through your nostrils on the out-breath. If you're aware of that feeling right now, as you're reading this, you're living in the moment. Nothing happens next. It's not a destination. This is it. You're already there."

Readers can go to this link in Psychology Today to read the blogpost by the author in its entirety.

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