"Remember then: there is only one time that is important—now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power." - Leo Tolstoy
Can you stop for a moment and reflect on what you were thinking five minutes before reading this blog? I cannot presume to know what you were thinking. But I sure know what I would have been thinking a few years back when I had not yet learned the art of “Being in the Prese
In the current Pandemic crisis, are you working from home or have family members working from home, have so much to do yet feel that nothing is getting done? Are you distracted by the ping of your mobile, social media, chores left to do and feel a lack of control? If you feel any or all of the above, you are not alone. I have heard many people share the same experience. Let’s take a small inventory, shall we?
Can you ask yourself, the following three questions and score on a scale of 1-3?
1. During the past week, how many times have you felt anxious, uncertain about the future and distracted?
Always - 3
Not at all - 1
2. During the past week, how many times have you multitasked and felt that nothing got done?
All the time -3
3. As you are reading this blog, how focused are you, right now?
Reading back and forth-3
If you have scored 3-4, You are living in the ‘Land of Now’ – being completely present and immersed in what you are doing
If you have scored 5-7, you are present in between but spend most of your time distracted.
If you have scored 8-10, you have likely gone back to check your scores and ha-ha, wondering who puts up a quiz in a blog!
Come back to the present, friend!
The Conflict between Being in the Present versus Living in the Past/Future:
See the above image and become aware of where you are standing in the road of life!
Past experiences and memories, failures and mistakes can hold a person back from truly being present in the moment.
Worries about reaching goals, too many distractions and doing multiple things at once can get overwhelming. One could get trapped in the future when you lose focus on the Present and only think about the future.
Living in the present means no longer worrying about what happened in the past, and not fear what will happen in the future and living and enjoying today as it is happening.
Eckhart Tolle in his ‘The Power of Now’ says that “ The Present Moment holds the key to liberation. But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are in your mind.”
How can you find the Present Moment?
There are many ways to “Be in the Present” like Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga and many more.
I am sharing three practices that I do to ‘Be in the Now’ and acknowledge the significant difference it made in my life.
1. Observing our emotions: This is a powerful exercise that I have used whenever I feel fearful or worried.
Sit alone for a few minutes and become aware of your thoughts. And, do not dwell on your thoughts, become more aware of the emotions that are attached to your thoughts. Ask yourself, “What’s going on inside me right now?” Do not analyse; just watch it and become aware of it. What you are doing is ‘Listening’ to your body and mind. Now slowly ‘Acknowledge’ your feelings. Allow yourself to focus on your breath and slowly say to yourself “I am willing to let go of the fears and worries as I breathe out”. As you breathe out, see your fears and worries floating away and as you breathe in, take in the fresh air and sense just being there.
2. Focus on “One thing at a time”:
The practice of “One thing at a time” has been the single most factor that has increased my productivity tenfold in the past year. How can you do that?
- Focus on only ‘One thing’. Do the next thing after you have completed the One thing. You will feel completely present when you are doing only the One thing.
- Keep all the distractions away for a while.
- Make batches of tasks. Imagine that you have just started your day and are overwhelmed by the number of tasks you have to do. You can group similar tasks and get them done one after the other. According to University of Michigan researchers, when we multitask, in addition to losing time, we become prone to distraction, forgetfulness and errors.
The system I find efficient is I complete all the non-computer tasks one after the other and later do all the computer-related tasks. The reason I prefer this method as opposed to time blocking is, I do not browse, see messages when I am not touching my computer or mobile. I also find it a lot of fun to group my tasks and not feel the pressure of time.
3. Writing a Journal:
Introducing writing a journal to your day can help you focus on the Present. Spend ten minutes in the morning and before going to bed to write your journal. You can keep it simple yet powerful by including just two things:
- Creating your intention for the day. Intentions are statements that indicate your inner desire, inspiration and motivation for the day.
- Review your day – reflect on what went well and the most important learning of the day. Gratitude could also be part of your review.
Being in the Present may not be a panacea for all problems, but it can definitely allow you to savour life as it happens, here and now.
Do share your comments and experiences !