Life in the Present

“Only one person in a thousand knows the trick of really living in the present.

Most of us spend fifty-nine minutes an hour living in the past, with regret for lost joys or shame for things badly done… or in a future which we either long for or dread. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute, here and now.”
-Storm Jameson

Where is your attention right now? Are you awake and aware of your surroundings?

I hope this reminder brings you squarely into the present. Although it is good to remember favorite events from our past and to be excited about what might happen for us in the future, real joy comes in the journey.

There is a wonderful quote of Thomas J. Leonard that goes, “Make the present incredibly wonderful, and the future will take care of itself.”

Our daily lives offer many opportunities for peak experiences, moments when we are feeling our happiest and strongest. This idea is explored thoroughly in “Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In it, the author defines flow and offers examples of people achieving flow. Contrary to popular belief, that optimal feeling does not happen when we are at leisure (perhaps reminiscing about the past or dreaming of the future). It is most likely in the midst of intense effort either at work or play.

When can you appreciate these moments?

• You take a smart risk
• You learn something new
• You are engaged in stimulating discussion
• You make a discovery
• You begin to understand
• You put something together mentally or physically
• In some way, you go farther or faster

When we are in the moment, time stands still for us. We appreciate what is around us and whatever is happening to add to our happiness. We feel in control of our actions, and there is a deep sense of exhilaration and enjoyment.

Wow! That sounds great! How can I have that?

Pay attention. Take time during every day to notice what you appreciate. As you reach your goals or the milestones toward them, congratulate yourself and let the satisfied feeling sink in. Don’t travel to your desired destination wearing blinders! Admire the scenery that your daily experiences offer you, whether that scenery is physical or a mental image and feeling. When you are faced with a challenge, think of how you can learn and become stronger by facing it squarely.

Savoring the moment is the most pleasant feeling!

“Some people are making such thorough preparation for
rainy days that they aren’t enjoying today’s sunshine.”
- William Feather