“Anything that costs you your mental health is too expensive.”
What is the most precious resource you have? Time, money, relationships, your career, a hobby, something you own (car, home, etc.)?
“Now is the most precious thing — it is the only thing there is.”
— Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
Now is merely your current existence.
I know, that’s a little weird, but consider how often we connect the current moment with something in the past or future. We do it constantly. We tend to see the present thru the lens of the past and the future. We analyze endlessly.
We need to stop thinking about what has been or what might be and live in the moment.
Now is when my life unfolds — not in the past, nor in the future. In fact, the past and future are enemies to most of us.
Mentally, we’re doing too many things at once. We’re working on our current task, but our minds race to previous experiences and yet-to-be hopes.
“Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance.”
— Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
Hereby I would like to share with you how you can build on a healthy habit of working towards the present moment, the NOW.
Step 1 — Become the “watcher”
When this destructive pattern of thinking emerges, observe yourself. Watching involves noticing without judgment. We have continuous dialogues in our minds. But we can short-circuit them by observing without judgment. Just listen. Over time we get used to the internal dialogue and we become better at noticing without judging. Watching ourselves is much like increasing our awareness by closing our eyes. Closing our eyes heightens our other senses. Likewise, when we watch ourselves without judgment, we are more able to focus on the present moment rather than interpreting the present situation through the lens of the past or future.
Step 2 — Further the mental disconnect
Watching ourselves creates a disconnect with our current mode of thinking. You can ask yourself, “I wonder what my next thought will be?”
This question allows you to further disassociate from your thinking.
Other questions to ask are:
“Am I at peace?”
“What’s going on inside me right now?”
These questions cause a mental distraction.
Step 3 — Cultivate a sense of presence in your daily life
Take any routine task: meal preparation, laundry, or cleaning the dishes and give it your full attention.
Generally, these tasks are a means to an end.
Instead of rushing through the task, focus on it. Fully experience it.
Center your mind on your actions instead of something else.
Connecting our minds with our actions is a form of meditation. It brings us into the present and connects us with real life.
Take the simple act of walking.
We all do it every day, but what’s the purpose of walking?
Merely to get somewhere? Maybe so, but we can use walking as a form of active meditation.
We only need to be aware of our walking rather than daydreaming.
Be aware of your steps, the sensation of the air around you, and your breathing.
When you get where you’re going, you’ll be focused and clear.
When we were kids, we walked to enjoy walking.
Now we rush around.
We always feel like we need to be somewhere other than where are.
Step 4 — Stop focusing on arriving (literally and metaphorically)
When we walk (or are stuck in traffic) why are we so rushed?
Our focus on arriving causes us to feel rushed.
We need to stop fixating on arriving, we can’t control traffic so why not enjoy the ride?
Metaphorically, we fixate on arriving through our goals and achievements — we’re seldom satisfied with where we are currently.