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Before I discuss how to live in the moment, I’d like to say that living in the moment is, in reality, our true nature. Yes, we were all born only experiencing the present moment. Interestingly enough, we continued living in the present moment until we were approximately four or five-years-old. It’s really crazy that we’ve evolved into living in the past and/or future, rather than what was naturally intended.
Have you ever spent time watching a toddler experience life? A toddler hasn’t been indoctrinated with the infinite amount of adult thinking – not yet. No, you won’t hear a three-year-old repeating any of the following statements:
- I’m not worthy.
- I don’t like the way I look.
- I don’t have enough money.
- I’m too fat.
- I’m too old.
- I’m too short.
- I’m not smart enough.
- I’m worried.
- I’m afraid.
- I’m a failure.
Programmed At Birth
We’ve all been programmed and conditioned at an early age, to label, blame, judge, compare, label, blame, judge, compare, and repeat and repeat this. We’ve also been programmed and conditioned to live in the past/future, or even more unsettling, in our own heads. However, when we choose to indulge in this type of behavior, we automatically give up the gift of living in the present moment. Why? Because, when you label a circumstance, event, or person “good” or “bad”, you’re using a reference from the past. You cannot use a reference from the past and be in the present moment at the same time.
Are Our Thoughts The Enemy?
No. Our thoughts are just that – thoughts. It’s only when we pay too much attention to our thoughts, and take them seriously, that we suffer. Our thoughts about our circumstances (not the circumstance itself) are responsible for all of our suffering. Our runaway, all-consuming thoughts are not evidence of the TRUTH. Our thoughts are evidence of our conditioning.
If our true nature is to live in the present moment, how do we live in that state-of-being enjoyed by children and the animal kingdom? How do we deprogram ourselves and live in the present moment?
Tip No. 1
Have the intention to live in the present moment everyday! Repeat out loud:
“I intend to live in the moment more and more each day.”
“I’m grateful to experience living in the present moment throughout my day.”
“How would it feel to experience living in the present moment all the time?” (Ask and It Is Given by Abraham-Hicks)
Tip No. 2
Commit to a daily habit of developing and practicing your awareness. I call this living consciously in an unconscious world. Yes, for the most part, we are unconscious creatures of habit; however, habitual behavior does not produce change or growth. Make a decision to change three habitual behaviors each week. Example: Drive home using a different route each day; or if you pack a lunch, eat out; or comb your hair in a different style; or think of three different (nice) responses you can make to a rude cashier. Have fun, and come up with your own personal changes. Challenge yourself and be creative. The point is to shake it up and practice doing things differently. There is no progress without practice.
Tip No. 3
In 2011, I voluntarily took a 40-day vow of silence. Now, I’m not suggesting that you do the same; however, I am suggesting that you spend sometime throughout your day being quiet. And to be perfectly clear, I mean remaining quiet while surrounded by people. This practice will definitely heighten your awareness, tenfold. The more awareness you have, the more present moments you will experience. Another benefit of this exercise is that when you practice silence, you become a better listener. When you’re really listening to someone, you’re automatically in the present moment.
What’s so Great about Living in the Moment?
Good question. The present moment is the only real reality we have. Anything other than the present moment is, in actuality, non-existent. The past doesn’t exist unless we choose to think about it, and the future doesn’t exist, period. The present moment is the only place we are able to make choices. The present moment is the foundation of our future moments. The present moment is where we’ll find the ultimate peace and contentment. The present moment silences the mind’s chatter. In the present moment, time does not exist. The present moment is where the Universe resides.