From morning to night distractions surround us, and not quietly like a book on a shelf but with a piercing siren call promising something better, something warmer or something more loving awaiting on the next block, one flight up or a phone call away. The imagined call promises us relief from our suffering. The call beckons, the glowing neon tempts and the endless hawking of advertising entices, then delivers something different.
Something different, is that what we want? Are we craving and grasping like hungry beggars so we might have something different? Indeed we are, and that something different is the key to help us stay in the moment.
Thoughts swirling between isles of awareness occasionally making sense but rarely do our thoughts touch reality as it is. Our stream of thoughts can be a joy along a morning walk or a nightmare spilling into consciousness with such darkness we look around to make sure no one heard what out thoughts.
It’s rarely easy to stay in the moment. It’s not easy to focus on where we are in each moment. It’s not easy to focus on what we tell ourselves we want, or what we think we want. It’s not easy to stop while we’re in the middle of our day and ask ourselves, is this where I want to be, is this what I want to be doing.
One question society frowns upon is this, Why am I uncomfortable with where I am at this moment? The answer, we are uncomfortable because we’ve been convinced that we need “something different.” As long as we stay convinced that where we are is never good enough, we will be agitated and wanting.
Maybe we are asking ourselves the wrong questions. Maybe we are so caught up in what we are told and what we tell ourselves we should want that we’re lost. Even my inviting you to stay in the moment is not a benign invitation.
No one can tell you, convince you or bribe you into truly knowing what’s happening in reality. The more words I use or the social networks use the cloudier our understanding becomes. If we want to know what’s happening within each moment we need to inhabit each moment. We need to physically, emotionally and consciously stay in the moment.
Below is a list of 5 things each one of us can do to enhance our ability to stay in the moment. And at the bottom of the page is a link to a slide show on the subject that you might want to download.
Tips For Staying In The Moment
1) Embrace Your Breath. The sounds, sensations and smells found within each breath are gateways to staying in the present moment. Watching you breath while doing everyday tasks can pull you from the prison of the relentless stream of thinking.
Be aware of the air coming in and leaving your nose and lungs. No judgement needed, let you breath flow naturally. Watch it while you walk, while you sit and while you think, the breath is an anchor to the present moment.
2)Stop And Ask, What Am I Doing? What am I doing right now? You may be surprised when you ask this of yourself. You could be doing one thing while at the same time thinking about other things.
Many days I will wear a small band around my wrist. It’s purpose is to remind me to stay in the moment. When I become aware that I’ve drifted into the past or future I gentle snap the band as a reminder to come back to the present moment.
3) Do One Thing, Then Another. It’s easy to find ourselves staring at our web browser and notice we have a multitude of tabs opened, many of them not related to the task at hand.
New and interesting info surrounds us all day long tugging at our attention, disrupting our focus. If we don’t stay in the moment we’ll be swept away down a unproductive rabbit hole.
Try using short blocks of time of 15 to 25 minutes focusing on doing one thing and then take a break before jumping into your work once again with another block. There are number useful apps such as the Pomodoro Technique that have shown wonderful results in productivity and in keeping focus.
4) Become Ambidextrous. It may sound like an ascetic call from left field, but learning to eat and write with your non-dominant hand is a gift of being in the present moment.
We’ve all experienced the heated focus required to learn and master something new, that’s what I’m proposing. And while becoming ambidextrous may seem preposterous I assure you it’s not. Choosing something to learn, something as personal as writing and eating with a different hand is a way to learning to stay in the moment.
Learning to construct written pages and to bring food to your mouth with a different hand is difficult, rewarding and divinely personal. Thinking about it.
5) Be Aware Of Routines And Habits. When Noticing a mindless habit acknowledge it with a smile, and change it in that moment. Change it in some way. Turn it upside down or inside out.
Habits can save time and energy, but they also can derail us from current reality and being aware of the present moment.
Try creating a handwritten list of your habits and routines as a way of bring focus and awareness to them. Sit with that list each day for at least 10 minutes, and once you’ve become deeply aware of it start naming each item just before you preform it. Do this until you can dislodge the routine or habit from it’s usual hold on you.
If you found this post helpful, interesting or enjoyable you may find this post on Focus also worth taking a few minutes to read.