Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “With the past, I have nothing to do nor with the future. I live now.”
Many people would like to think that they live for the present, but is this the reality?
In our busy lives, we often have to juggle multiple tasks. We talk on the phone whilst driving, think about work
during dinner with the family and we plan the weekend whilst in the office. It is common to eat our meals without thinking about what we’re putting into our bodies and it’s even more common for our minds to drift off whilst we’re completing our day-to-day tasks. We can easily get caught up in thinking about something we did in the past, or worrying about something that hasn’t even occurred.
In order to find peace…we need to learn to simplify. But even more than this, we need to ‘be present’
It is unsettling to think that most of us are elsewhere, much of the time, rather than engaging in the here and now.
In order to find peace in a sometimes overwhelming, & often stressful world, we need to learn to simplify. But even more than this, we need to ‘be present’.
To be present is about living in the here and now. Focusing on what you’re currently doing without letting our
mind drift. It may seem like a simple process, but our subconscious is often either stuck in the past or anticipating the future.
It isn’t often that we zone in on what is happening right now, at this very moment. We are rarely fully conscious of what we are doing, whilst we are doing it.
Even whilst writing this column, there have been email interruptions, phone calls, a cuppa distraction, a chat
with a colleague about the weekend, discussions with contributors, layouts checked, papers to sign off, discussions with readers and contributors, etc.
There are great benefits to being present in the here and now – better and healthier relationships from giving
someone your undivided attention; reduced stress; getting things done more efficiently and increased enjoyment.
To get to these benefits we must try to slow down the pace of life and block out the expectations of the world around us. There are many ways we do this: when your mind starts to wander take a deep breath to refocus on the job at hand; turn your mobile phone off (or put it on silent) when you’re with someone and focus on one task at a time. The key to being present is to focus on the task, person or situation in that moment. You will get your work completed faster because you will not have to constantly make switches in your brain back to the task at hand and you are less likely to forget a step or a crucial detail.
Although there is nothing wrong with looking behind or ahead, we must be aware that we cannot change what has already happened and we have no control of the future.
Furthermore, if we spend most of our time distracted from the present, we run the risk of missing out on life itself. Before we know it, life will pass us by while our mind is elsewhere.