Each morning we are born again, what we do today is what matters most. ~ Buddha
Today, I heard a surprising and saddening news, a familiar person died. Despite that yesterday she was very much okay.
Death is something that is sure to happen, and yet we still are surprised when it do happens.
The news reminded me an important life principle, that is to live in the moment.
Most of us are not living in the moment. Most of the time, we either think ahead in the future or can’t move on from the past. We neglect to see that what we have guaranteed is today.
I am guilty of this as well. I’m a type of person who think and plan ahead in the future, sacrificing today for a better future. And there are some things in my past that I find it hard to totally let go of. I have been improving this and started practicing a more balanced life, wherein I think and prepare for the future or reminisce past memories, but I’m in the look in ensuring I’m still living and making the most of the present moment.
Let me share with you here in this article ten simple ways to live in the moment. Not the wasteful type, but a more mindful way.
1. Be offline more often than being online
10 to 15 years ago, when I was still in college, the words “offline” or “online” may not even exist or is not commonly used. Internet was already around but it wasn’t as handy as it is now that wherever you go you can be online.
Unless your work or business requires you to be online most of the time, I came to realised that being online all the time can be distracting. It makes you unproductive especially if you keep on looking at what other people is doing, or what the world is up to. It’s okay if done in moderation but if too much, you missed to see what you have for the moment or be present in the moment. Like for example, you’re too glued on your cellphone checking your Facebook account and you don’t notice that your wife or husband is speaking to you, or that your child is getting your attention.
To live in the moment, start by being offline more often than being online.
2. Have an alone time to reflect and meditate
Every day, I’m involved with different people and tasks that sometimes drains my energy. It can also be confusing and stressful sometimes that I lose sight of the present moment.
When I started to notice that I’m getting overwhelmed with too much responsibility and people around, I decided to set a time to be alone and meditate. What I do is I sit down outside the balcony or in the garden, and just look at what’s around me. I also do meditation or breathing exercises wherein I just sit quietly, close my eyes and just focus my thoughts and my breathing. Meditation helps me relax and enjoy the present moment. Meditation helps me not think of anything but my breathing, that present moment that I am alive.
3. Take time to notice what’s around you
We often rush from one place to another, from one task to another that we neglect to notice what’s happening around us.
There’s a saying that goes “Take time to smell the roses.” For me, it means to stop for a while and notice what’s around you. It’s a way to live in the moment.
You don’t have to look for a rose, it can be a plant, your loved ones, a pet, the sky, etc. The essence is to stop for a moment from our busy schedule and savour the present moment.
4. Spend time with important people in your life
We often forget that life is temporary, that it can be taken away from us anytime, sometimes by surprised. As such, we don’t prioritise spending time with our loved ones. We often schedule it for a later time because our career or business is more important to us.
In a day or a week, try to set a time to spend with your loved ones. Set a time where your focus is to listen to them and be with them.
5. Focus on what you do and where you are at the moment
A sure way to not appreciate and live in the moment is doing or scheduling so many things in a given day, all at the same time. In our time we love to multitask. We often end up feeling exhausted or overwhelmed with our day to day responsibility that we do not have time to appreciate and live in the moment.
To live in the moment, focus on what you do and where you are at the moment. Practice doing one thing at a time. It will also help in getting things done.
6. Give your best each day as if it’s your last
A common behaviour is to put tomorrow what one can do today. So that today, they can relax or not give their best.
Living in the moment, I realised is doing your best in what you do every single day, as if it’s your last day alive. Because you don’t know if you still have chance tomorrow.
7. Be grateful
Some of us put off being happy only if attain what we want tomorrow. While some cling on to the happiness of the past.
Living in the moment is being grateful today, not yesterday nor tomorrow.
8. Live simply
In this consumerism driven world, we cannot avoid not to want material things to make us happy. Things such as money, a house, car, clothes, bags, shoes, gadgets, etc., becomes a defining basis of happiness and success. And in our desire to acquire material possession, we spend our time working long hours, even weekends and holidays. We put off time to relax and appreciate the moment.
To live in the moment is to live simply. The less material possession we want to acquire the less the need for us to work hard. And the less time we spend at work, the more time we have to relax and live in the moment.
9. Don’t rush
To live in the moment, we need to be calmed and relaxed. Refrain from rushing things by planning ahead and scheduling properly. Also, avoid committing on too many things all at the same time. Take your time.
10. Spend time with nature
Last but not the least way to live in the moment is to spend time with nature. Visit a nature park or climb a mountain. Go out and experience natural wonders of the world.
I hope the tips I shared in this article has been helpful for you. I’m not offering you a definite solution but only those I tried and realised in my quest to live life fully.
For a final note, let me leave you this thought from the movie “Kung Fu Panda”:
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present