In a moment, raise your eyes from the screen in front of you and spend 5 seconds looking around you. Ask yourself:
Where am I?
What can I see and hear?
Am I ‘here’ - fully aware of my physical presence?
Now, in a moment, close your eyes, take your awareness inwards and spend 5 seconds looking at your thoughts. Ask yourself:
When are you?
Are you thinking about things that have already happened or might happen?
Are you ’now’ - fully in the present moment?
As a child I used to play a game with my sister. I don’t think we had a name for it, but it went like this.
We’d take turns to be the one who called out the word ‘now’ to symbolise the present moment.
As soon as we’d say ‘now’ the other would gleefully say ‘ah, but that was then’.
Then we’d swap. Eventually we’d collapse into a giggling heap, delighted at the ridiculousness of trying to capture the ‘here and now'
I used to think it was just a silly game. Now I realise it’s what we’re all striving for - to be in the moment, fully engaged in the flow of life. Because when we’re ‘right here, right now’ there is no sadness at what was been, because that is memory. And there is no worry about what’s next, because it hasn’t happened yet.
Being in the present illuminates the past and and future, revealing them to be nothing more than the shadows they are.
In our busy lives it’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts and feelings, and forget that’s all they are. Thoughts and feelings. Powerful for sure, overwhelming at times, but entirely within our control if we wish them to be. And the first step is to shine the light of ‘now’ on them. Maybe not all the time - we’ve stuff to do right? But when we get our chance, we should take it.
And there are shortcuts!
Sure, you can walk the traditional paths of meditation and mindfulness, and I can highly recommend taking literally 60 seconds at the start of the day to connect with that peaceful place within you. It means whatever happens that day, you know there is calm within.
But if your chasing your tail from dawn to dusk, look for those moments you can steal for a little joy.
When we feel joy, we’re brought back to our own personal 'here and now’:
- So laugh, and when you laugh really let yourself enjoy the feeling.
- And sing - loudly and enthusiastically, as if you’re in the Coliseum and your life depends on it!
- Or dance, gently or wildly, wherever you feel comfy. In your slippers round the kitchen while the kettle boils.
When you float back to this thing we like to call ‘reality’, notice that just for a moment you were actually in the moment.
And if you can’t think of how to get back there, maybe just shout ’now’!
To listen to my song Right Here, Right Now about being in the present moment click here.