In the words of author Paulo Coelho ‘With every step we take, we arrive.’
When I uttered these words to a companion, she replied ‘why make things complicated?’ But the irony lies in her rhetorical question because in fact I had made things simpler. It is the human mind, governed by social constructs, governed by the man-made concept of time that complicates things.
Let me put forth another quotation that exemplifies why I had simplified things for her:
‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.’
– Lao Tzu
This quotation exemplifies how the human mind is constantly governed by temporality. We are either thinking about what we could have done better, the missed opportunities and feeling nostalgic for a past that is now nothing but a memory. Or we are, everyday, running towards a long-term goal; aspiring to be more than what we already are. We fail to realise that every step we take is fulfilling a goal on that journey.
In an age of advanced technology, living in the present is becoming more so of a challenge. When we are with friends, we take pictures to upload onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – we are not really present or fully enjoying the moment. It is of course imperative to aspire, achieve and attain ones goals.
But rarely do we sit and say to ourselves ‘acknowledge this moment because it will be gone in exactly a moment.’ Every so often we should take time to live for the now because before we know it, the now we have past and we will once again be looking back at what we did not do.
Nobody knows what the future holds. You can save all of your money for a rainy day but if that rainy day never comes, you missed a lifetime of days when the sun was shining. So, how does one live in the moment, enjoy the sunshine and save for a rainy day you ask? Here are a few scenarios to help you live in the now:
One of the most common things we do on a daily basis is commute. You are waiting for the tube. It is arriving in 3 minutes. Don’t stand there counting the minutes and seconds on the clock. Focus on yourself. Focus on your thoughts. Congratulate yourself – you have just brought yourself back to the present moment!
You are sitting on a 45 minute journey on the train. Rather than thinking about your destination, what you will do when you arrive or planning meetings, look out of the window and simply enjoy the view.
Looking at the sky and scenery is calming and you are taking notice of the world in its present moment. If you are on the underground, think about yourself – you are here, in this moment, because of a life full of achievements. Be proud of yourself!
Run yourself a bubble bath rather than a quick shower. Showers are great in the morning before work but a soak in the bath is great for relaxing after a long day. Many people are ‘too busy’ to relax in the bath but it is the perfect retreat for some ‘me’ time.
And the simplest advice – put your phone away whilst with your friends! Engage in conversation with them and enjoy spending time with them because the moment will pass but Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will still be there!
If you are mindful of the things you are doing without automatically carrying out activities, you will automatically enjoy the sunshine on those rainy days. Carpe Diem!
Anila Dhami is a journalist and presenter, and is currently studying a Masters in Philosophy and Literature. She is founder of blog https://aniladhami.wordpress.com and broadcasts on her own YouTube Channel.