Updated on October 28, 2015
Here is a problem that I am wondering about “is the difficulty to remain present” and “in the moment” a distinctly American one? In many minimalist circles, the message of being in the moment is a reoccurring theme. I will not be one who says that I have this state of mind conquered. I have a HUGE problem with staying present.
When I am interacting with friends and family, in person, on the phone, via skype whatever it might be, I am able to be there with them. I do not interact with my phone or other technology unless it is what the moment calls for. However, when I am at work, or performing a menial task, I am off dreaming of a better tomorrow.
Recently, I read a book named 10% happier. The author, Dan Harris, is a television anchor. In his writing, I saw myself so much. He had a good job, but was always on the look out for something else, a better assignment, a better promotion, more face time…always the elusive better. He realized that he was not enjoying what he actually had on hand, a great job, good assignments, great family.
I look around and I understand what he is feeling. I too have a good job, a good family, a good life. Yet I am always on the lookout for my next project, my next amazing vacation, my next life changing adventure. I want to learn how to enjoy the time that I am going through the motions on my job. I want to find joy in routine paperwork, sweeping the floor, washing the clothes. I need to learn how to enjoy my job and the people with whom I work. We are all rushing around from here to there, completing our daily list, our bucket list, our grocery list. Is it really possible to live in the moment?
As I stated earlier, I do not have this problem when I am interacting with friends and loved ones. I do not have this problem when I am on vacation. Time S. T. O. P. S. I love that. I am able to breathe. I feel no obligation to create something great. No obligation to learn something new. No obligation to cross something off of my list. Just being there is enough.
How do I make the crossover? From what Dan Harris said, meditation helps. I thought that by having my quiet time in the morning I was doing enough. I decided to try “real” meditation through the tips that Dan Harris gave in his book. IT IS HARD. Even to stop the chatter of my mind for 2 focused minutes as I concentrate on my breathing is so difficult. I realize that I have major problems with turning off my brain even for short periods of time.
So when I read of people who say they have no goals, they are living in the moment, or when I hear of other cultures where it is not necessary to Get. It. Done. NOW. I really don’t understand. How does someone do that? How can you survive with no goals? I think I would feel like the biggest failure. Does anyone understand what I am saying? am I the only person who feels I must accomplish this this this and this by yesterday?
With that said, I suppose living in the moment and being present is something that I am working on accomplishing….another goal. I will do my best to take it easy and relax with it, not like I HAVE to be present with everything by tomorrow. Who knows, if I can become a little more in tune with what I am doing on a daily basis, at work, I may also become 10% happier.
To be continued.