Be Present and Mindful. What Does that Even Mean?

Be Present and Mindful. What Does that Even Mean?

Be what? Be mindful.

Be where? Be in the present moment.

But aren’t we all in the present moment? Not really.

Think of our lives. We rush through our breakfasts hardly noticing what we are gulping down because we are preparing presentations in our heads. We may be in the office working at our projects but in our heads we are planning what to cook for dinner or what to wear for a party the next weekend. At the party, we try to let our hair down while worrying about debts and mortgages.

A new project excites us but then we back out fearing we will goof up on the work. We meet an interesting person but fear getting intimate with him because broken relationships from the past haunt us and make us jittery.

It seems that we are everywhere but HERE. We seem to go about our lives either ruing a past that cannot be undone or fearing a future that is hazy, distant, and uncertain. We seem to everywhere but NOW. We are not mindful. We are not in the moment.

What is “Being” in the Moment?

Mindfulness or being in the present moment is being conscious of what is happening right in front of you at that instant. When you eat, your focus is on the food in front of you. You are aware of the texture and aroma of the food. When you put the food in your mouth, you are aware of its taste. When you work, you concentrate only on the task. You do not think about results and rewards. When you play with your dog, you just play. When you talk, you concentrate just on the words and gestures of the person in front of you.

Being mindful is also being non-judgmental. Mindfulness is a state of non-judgmental awareness where you simply notice without attaching a “good” or a “bad” tag to your experience, the person, or the object in front of you. No experience is pleasant or painful. You accept what is happening to you at that moment, and then you move on to concentrate on the next moment.

The Benefits of Being in the Moment

There are many emotional and spiritual benefits of being in the moment.

Mindfulness is an alien concept in our society that is obsessed with multi-tasking. We write proposals with an eye on our social media updates. We check mails between creating presentations.

We talk on the phone while doing the laundry or cooking. We think we are being productive, but multi-tasking actually doesn’t take us anywhere. There is always the risk you will overlook typos in your proposal or quote a wrong statistic in your presentation. So being mindful enhances your productivity by sharpening your focus and enabling you to perform your tasks efficiently.

Mindfulness is a great stress-busting technique. When you are not depressed over what has happened in the past or are not worrying about what is going to befall you in future, you can be calm. Being in the moment and accepting whatever is happening to you non-judgmentally also lets you be at peace with yourself and the world around you.

One of the greatest benefits of being in the moment is that you give the gift of your presence to your loved ones. Being mindful helps you become compassionate. When you stop judging the person standing in front of you, talking at the other end of the phone, or lurking behind the email, you can read his emotions correctly and understand his motivations.

Being in the moment helps you become a better version of yourself and in turn, be a loyal friend, a dependable partner, a loving parent, a responsible child, and a cherished employee.

How to Be in the Moment

Learning to be in the moment can be quite challenging with so many distractions around us.

Besides, multi-tasking has become a habit with us. But who says practice can’t make you perfect?
You can start your mindfulness practice by trying to be mindful of your breath. Notice your breath as you inhale and exhale and the sensations that arise. Just be aware of the sensations; do not try to label them.

Resolve to do only one task at a time. If need be, create a distraction-free environment by switching off mobile phones and disconnecting the Internet. Start small. Try to work mindfully for 10-15 minutes. During this time, concentrate only on the task at hand. Worries about performance may arise. Don’t resist because this is natural, but also do not hold on to them or wallow in them. They will float away as naturally as they had flocked to your mind.

You have ample opportunities in your daily life to be mindful. You can practice mindfulness when you eat, watch television, speak on the phone, walk, cook, and do gardening.

Being in the present moment is a simple productivity and spiritual life hack that can transform you radically from inside out. Mindfulness helps you become a more peaceful person and opens you up to inspiration and insights by calming your mind.

Featured image by Hartwig HKD

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