Here are some practical things you can do in order to be better at living in the present:
- spend time with children, who are naturally and instinctively present-oriented
- do things that children do, like having a playful approach to life, taking risk, being open to learning
- take a course in improvisation or \’improv’ – it’s a crash-course in present-momenticity
- meditation or contemplation practices are helpful for sharpening the mind in the here and now
- use listening to music as present-moment practice – notice when your mind strays from the sound, and bring it back.
- practice using all your senses in one situation – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell; dinner parties are good opportunities to practice this
- see if you can find ways to enjoy the individual characteristics of each season and each time of day – dress up to suit the weather, go outside, find activities you can enjoy
- stop comparing this \’here and now’ with other times, other places, and other people you might rather be with
- try thinking: is there any way I can enjoy, appreciate or get value out of this moment rather than wishing it was over?
Practice enjoying the moment, however fleetingly – but not in a frenzied, hyper-manic way, trying to fit in far too much into a short time – feeling free of the trappings of the past and future: an exhilarating feeling and a potential joy when you can do it. Even a challenging moment can be significantly more bearable when you experience it for what it is, rather than exaggerate the suffering by bringing in time frames beyond the present. Very often, our suffering is increased because we are extrapolating beyond the present. We may be unconsciously assuming that whatever is happening now will always happen, or will go on happening, or will get worse – which most of the time is not the case.
As you practice being more fully present more of the time, you will find that it steadily becomes a more pervasive and less conscious habit, expanding your comfort zone and making life that bit more of a creative adventure – just like those young kids.
This concludes the series of blogs on this topic – thanks for following, and do let me know whether you have found this helpful – or nonsense?