LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
Updated: Aug 29
Where do you spend most of your time, in the past, in the present or in the future?
Living in the here and now or Mindfulness has become a practice that more people are willing to try as a way to achieve a state of greater consciousness. But what does this mean? And how can I stay in the present moment for longer periods of time? … is it really useful? Let's start by understanding that human beings have a conscious and an unconscious mind. In the conscious mind we keep all the information that we can access at any time. The unconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are outside of our conscious awareness. All brain activity related to habits, automatic body functions, creativity, emotions, personality, beliefs, values and long-term memory are stored in the unconscious mind. According to different scientific researches, such as "My brain made me do it” by the Neurologist David Eagleman, 95% of our decisions are made by our unconscious mind. Other research at the Max Planck Institute in Germany shows that, although we think we are consciously making our decisions, our brain has already decided for us 7 seconds before we actually made the decision.
Let's take this into practical life. Living in the here and now means that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what I am doing, to the space I am moving through. I am aware and focused on my thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations in every moment. The mind never stops, and if you start observing your thoughts, you will realize that your mind probably spends most of the day remembering the past or imagining the future. And why is this relevant? For the unconscious mind the past and the future do not exist as such. In the unconscious mind everything is an eternal present. In addition, exactly the same areas are activated in the human brain, whether you think about doing something or if you really are doing it. So every time you remember an unpleasant situation that happened 10 years ago, your mind recreates it as if you were experiencing it all over again. And if you go to the future to imagine what will happen if that money you expect does not arrive, you will then be creating realities that you do not want to face. Spending a lot of time in the past is associated with feelings of sadness and depression; spending a lot of time in the future is associated with feelings of anxiety and preoccupation.
Eckhart Tolle in his book "The Power of Now" proposes that whatever the present moment unfolds, accept it as if you had chosen it, always work with it, not against it, make it your friend, not your enemy ... and this will transform your life. In my personal experience I have discovered that becoming the observer of myself helps me to stay in the present moment, and when I catch myself either in the past or in the future, I immediately remind myself that I must return to the present. Another simple way to stay in the present moment is to focus on whatever you are doing, no matter how simple the situation might seem; observe every detail of the situation. For instance, if you are taking a shower, look and feel the water running down on your skin, listen carefully to the sound of the water falling on the floor, be aware of the smells and all the sounds in the environment.
Meditation is another effective practice to keep yourself in the present. The practice of Mindfulness helps to reduce stress, improve our performance, develop greater intuition and allows us to enhance our attention to the well-being of other people.