Learning to be in the Now

Few things are universal among human beings, but one of the few things that is seems to be is a tendency to live in the past or the future rather than in the present. This is a common problem that crosses through cultures and across time periods.

The majority of people spend little time living in the present moment. Some tend to live in the past, ruminating on things that happened a long time ago, or regretting things they never got around to doing.

Others focus more on the future, on making their plans and dreams a reality, and give little or no thought to what’s happening right now. When they reach a goal, their focus naturally shifts to the next one. One future to another, over and over again, until they get to the point in life where they realize they don’t have much of or any future.

Both of these positions are equally unhealthy. There is nothing wrong with remembering things that have happened to you or dreaming about the future, of course, but the problem arises when you spend too much time doing so.

Life is lived in the present, moment by moment, not in the past or the future, and if you aren’t living in the now, you’re missing your life. Those things that will become your new memories, those goals you’re struggling to reach, are all important components of your life now and you are meant to enjoy them now.

Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment. When you’re being mindful, you’re intentionally focusing only on what’s happening now and not what’s happening later today or tomorrow or what happened yesterday.

If you want to learn to live more in the present instead of the past or the future, starting a mindfulness practice is one of the best ways to do so. Start by learning how to do mindfulness meditation “pauses” and incorporate them into your daily life. Once you’re doing that regularly, you can extend your practice to mindfulness activities.

As you get more comfortable being mindful and practicing your mindfulness, you’ll be able to expand your practice into more aspects of your life and practice mindfulness more frequently.

You’ll still have times when you get preoccupied or distracted. That’s natural; no one can be mindful all of the time. But if you want to learn to live your life in the now, start a mindfulness practice today. You’ll see the benefits in no time.