Ask yourself how often you experience life, rather than going through the motions, pretending to feel differently than you do, engaging in distractions, chasing altered states, trying to cooperate with someone else's agenda, or wanting everyone to understand you and your problems. Imagine releasing yourself from that facade and opting instead for an encounter with the moment and what is actually occurring in that moment.
What might it be like to use your senses to experience being in your moments? Try letting go of definitions, perceptions, and intellectual exercises; instead, bump into “what is” and all of the aspects of your experience in that moment. You will find that if you are fully engaged, this “being in the moment” (also known as mindfulness) will help you disengage from negative thoughts about the past or worry about the future. This type of regular engagement and awareness will help you face life with more focus and attention, and may help you understand additional ways you need to care for yourself.
Mindfulness is the vernacular of overcoming ingrained patterns that keep us stuck. It is the language of children who are well-loved, accepted, and encouraged to pursue who they are with love and compassion, not what someone believes they should or can (or can't) be. Imagine the possibility of appreciating and accepting yourself (and others) unconditionally and of observing your thoughts, emotions, and choices without judgment…with curiosity, encouragement, and enjoyment. Or, on some occasions, with sadness – being in the moment is not a consistently positive state. Instead, it reflects the reality that life offers an array of experiences, both joyful and heartrending, to help us on our paths, and becoming more comfortable with all that life presents is one of the amazing benefits of mindfulness. The self-knowledge you develop through mindfulness will help you make decisions about your emotional and physical safety with greater care and will help you be present enough to take in all the information around you. While many of us can understand protecting our physical being, the truth is that emotional protection is just as important – possibly even more important.
In many ways, being in the moments of your life is about rediscovering the unique consciousness with which you came into this world. Change begins with this self-awareness, which can help you clearly recognize the current state of your life and make decisions about what you’d like to change. Although changing our lives can be hard work, being more mindful and self-accepting can help you respond positively to the challenges of creating life change. At its most basic, succeeding with life changes is about getting back up and trying again each time you fall short of what you are moving toward.
Sit with yourself and let thoughts come and go. Notice the story you tell yourself about your ability to be quietly alone with yourself. Notice your comfort or lack thereof as you settle into quiet moments with yourself. Ask yourself if you are avoiding learning about you or looking forward to the experience. If avoiding learning more about yourself, consider instead that what you learn will help provide a starting point for you to become the person you want to be – and want to learn more about.
Learn more about Libbe Gray, PhD.