Developing the Skill of Living In The Now
1) Respect life.
Always remember…every day of your life is an important day! Every day matters in the grand scheme of things. Every sunrise is a gift. Every breath that you take is a blessing. Every heartbeat is a miracle. Every minute counts. Every hour is 60 minutes of possibilities. Cultivating the habit of focusing on what is, not what might be, or what was, is the way to live a happy, successful life. Relationships can end, status can fail, religion can delude, the economy can fluctuate…but “the now” is a constant. Regardless of where you are in your thoughts, in reality it is still always now!
2) Regularly follow a goal, but detach from the result.
Goals are important and necessary, but the subject of goal-setting is difficult to tackle when applying the now habit. How can you have a goal, which is based in the future, and still focus on the now? The answer is that goals give an overall direction to what you are doing today. You can work hard because of an inspiring goal, and still not be consumed by it. Emphasize your current actions over the end result of them. If getting the million dollars, the beautiful spouse or the perfect physique becomes more important to you than the path towards it, the goal can become a trap. As long as a goal serves to order how you live your everyday life, then it can help you focus on the now.
3) Remove resistance from your thought patterns.
Remember the truth of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference”. Stop resisting what is. If you are stuck in a traffic jam, you are stuck in a traffic jam. You can’t center yourself in the now if you don’t accept it. Even if you are in a situation you don’t like or intend to change, you’ll be much happier as soon as you accept it right now as part of your current reality.
4) Really experience what you are doing.
Actually experience what you are doing! Think about it…how often do you eat a meal without really tasting the food? Listen to music without noticing the notes? Talk to your spouse without really listening? If you are going to do something, engage with/in it. Whether you choose to really experience something or not has no bearing on productivity. It takes the same amount of time to really taste a bowl of soup as it does to just slurp it down. But by choosing to focus on your current task, you can draw far more enjoyment and peace from it.
5) Rid yourself of ingratitude.
Spend a few moments every day in reflecting on that for which you are grateful. The more that you express your gratitude, the more you will have for which to be grateful. Gratitude isn’t expressed by saying, “Well it could be worse…” Gratitude means being happy now, instead of just believing that you’ll happy later. It means being thankful for the interesting challenges and opportunities life has given you today…in the now.
6) Reject any distractions to a meaningful life.
As much as is realistic for you…simplify your life! Cutting back on things that aren’t contributing to your overall growth helps you to focus on what really matters. When you are constantly surrounded by the noise of activities, the media, and people who aren’t adding anything to you, it is harder to focus on what really makes life worth living. You are the steward of your life and time…you have to take responsibility for how you spend it.
7) Release yourself to be fully engaged.
Inner peace doesn’t have to come from living a monastic life in the wilderness. Some of the happiest people you will ever meet are the ones most engaged in life. They are the ones who wake up knowing that they have a day full of exciting challenges and tasks ahead of them. There will always be moments for reflection, but by engaging yourself more, you do what the now habit is all about… living and not just existing. The more you use your time in a positive and proactive way, the more time you’ll have to use…the more you embrace living in the now, the more aware you will become of the power of it!