One big hindrance to not enjoying the present moment is that we are not actually in the present moment. Questions like – Did I do that right, did I give my best, what will happen if this doesn’t work out, why did he/she behave that way with me, will I be able to afford that thing I want to buy, etc., occupy our minds. These questions in turn result in actions and reactions that are not conscious. That is because they are not based on truths; they are based on assumptions, guilt, anxieties, and fears.
We might be thinking of the past regretting what we might have done, being mad or upset with someone, or some unpleasant situation, or maybe even just recollecting pleasant memories. We might be thinking about the future anxious about it, wondering if things will work out as we want, wondering about the results of our actions.
I have been guilty of doing all of the above for a long time in my life. It took me a while to realize how unproductive that was. I think of myself as a hardworking person and give whatever I work on personally or professionally all I’ve got. And if things didn’t work out the way I envisioned, I used to be quite upset. Being an emotional person, I used to cry my heart out thinking of all the possible reasons why I failed and how I didn’t deserve it. After a bit of letting these emotions out, I reanalyzed the situation and in the end, I always came up with a clear thought process on what I should be doing next. After a few years of that behavior, I realized I could do the same thing without wasting all the time in between being over-emotional. It saved me so much energy and time. Sometimes simple stuff takes forever to be understood by the mind to shift the thinking process.
Most of the time, our life energy is so focused on what did/did not/might/might not go right that we don’t give it our all to put in the required work at the present moment. And this makes us feel worse when we don’t get the desired results. The guilt, fears, anxieties, or such unpleasant feelings seep back in; on and on this cycle goes. Our actions are manifested by our thoughts. I believe it’s ok to think of the past and have dreams for the future, but dispassionately to help better ourselves or to achieve those dreams that we have. Of course, this doesn’t happen magically and like most things, it needs practice.
Here are a few things that help me focus on the NOW –
- The first and most important thing is a constant reminder that I only live today (now).
- Practice gratitude regularly as there is a lot to be grateful for.
- Take responsibility without blaming anyone else if things do not go as desired.
- Give my best in everything I do. The results don’t matter in that case.
- Change the perspective with which I see myself and the problems I face. We are a speck in this universe with few problems. We need to stop being so egocentric and start thinking beyond ourselves.
Most of us live our lives as though we are immortal. This is worth a constant reminder – we only live today.