Living in the Now series (1)
What does it mean to Live in the Now?
It means we are fully present with what we are doing. For example: We are totally present with that customer we are serving. For example: We are aware of the sensations in the body, including the movement of the breath coming in and out by itself.
Living in the Now means we are awake and aware of what is going on around us and within us. What does living in the Now mean to you?
Good preparation for each day is so important. Would we go into our day without cleaning our teeth and at least washing our face? Most of us wouldn’t. There are further preparations we can do to give us the best chance to have a happy, peaceful and productive day. We can meditate, pray, do some hatha yoga, take a shower, practice deep breathing, exercise and eat a healthy breakfast.
Generally speaking, we want to have a balanced preparation. One that harmonizes our body, emotions and mind. What works for you?
Tip: When we are very busy it’s easy to cut out parts of our morning preparation. Not a good idea. The busier we are the more we need “our” time.
Tip: Really our preparation starts the night before by making sure we get enough good rest.
What do you include in your morning preparation?
We all know that positive thinking and affirmations are powerful. What we think has a massive effect on the quality of our lives. Likewise the images we choose also have a big effect on our lives. For example, we can deliberately close our eyes and remember that beautiful scene from our vacation last summer. Perhaps last year we went on a spiritual retreat. We can image ourselves being there in their meditation room or sitting outside under a tree in the sunshine. Some of you live away from your families. You can image being with them having a special meal together.
We can’t always be physically somewhere but we can always imagine being there. This positive imagery can help us feel connected to family and friends. It can help us go deeper in our spiritual practices and feel supported by a spiritual community thousands of miles away. Imagery can improve our health and sense of well being. Deliberately try some imagery today and notice how you feel.
How will I feel in 5 minutes or 2 hours or later today or tomorrow morning?
We may answer, it depends on whether I get what I want or on the weather or on how people treat me or on how I feel physically.
How we feel in the future very much depends on what we are thinking and doing right now and in the subsequent nows. The quality of our future lies very much in our own hands. If we can create peace in our hearts and minds right now this will help us in the future (and right now). If we can think and feel loving thoughts right now this will help us in the future (and right now).
Conversely, if we think fearful or angry thoughts or disappointed thoughts this will create an unpleasant, agitated now and will adversely affect our future.
Of course, we cannot control many of the difficult things that show up in our lives but we can control what we are thinking and feeling in each moment. When we up the quality of our thoughts, we will feel much happier right now and in the future as well. What do you think?
It’s easy to react without thinking when our buttons get pushed. Often we say or do things that we later regret. We can cause stress in ourselves and others and strain our relationships.
Responding is when we speak and act after contemplation of the best course of action. It often results in a better outcome. Sometimes our best response is to say or do nothing. At other times we act in a way that will bring the most benefit to all concerned.
How can we respond instead of reacting?
1. Get into the habit of pausing before speaking and acting. Knee jerk reactions normally come from an unconscious place.
2. When an argument is beginning, say less or nothing or perhaps change the topic
3. If possible avoid communicating when already upset or when we are tired or not feeling well.
4. Incorporate centering practices such as prayer or meditation or deep breathing or sitting quietly into your daily life. These practices calm and clear the mind and make it less reactive. It’s helpful to take regular breaks to re-center.
5. Become less rigid in our viewpoints. Don’t beat yourself up if you have reacted instead of responding. Apologize or make amends if appropriate and vow to do better next time.
What works for you?
Many times we are thinking of ourselves. What can I get? How can I be happier or improve my life? This can be a good process unless it turns into worry or too much thinking about our welfare to the exclusion of others.
When we are helping or serving others our minds and bodies are engaged in beneficial activities. Our minds are generally thinking positive thoughts and we are experiencing uplifted emotions. We are speaking and acting in the present moment with our main concern being to take care of the person or situation in front of us.
By serving others with full attention we naturally begin to connect with our inherent inner happiness which is always there.
What has been your experience?
Start afresh in each Moment or Now
Every moment or now is the start of a new year. Each moment or now is a chance to start afresh. In each moment, deep within us is a well of fresh peace and happiness. This is our Divine Self. This peace and joy is deeper than our minds. How do we access it? We need to quiet and ultimately still the mind.
How do we quiet the mind? We start by cultivating an open mind, a loving mind, a receptive mind. A positive mind is naturally more calm than an agitated mind. It’s easier to further quiet and still this positive mind so that we can go deeper into our inner peace.
How do we create a positive mind? Deliberately think well of ourselves and those around us. Every time the mind gets off track, becomes judgmental or unkind or fearful or blaming we can redirect the mind back on track with a new positive viewpoint or attitude. These inclusive, win/win, kind, accepting, supportive, grateful, appreciative thoughts create moments of love, contentment, happiness and success. Each moment becomes an experience of our Divine Self, our True Self.
Of course, there will be ups and downs. But remember, we’re only a moment away from getting back on track to a happier, healthier, more successful and fulfilling life.
What has been your experience?
We all have bad habits we’d like to get rid of. These habits could be physical, emotional or mental. For example, regularly being anxious about your future. What detrimental habit would you like to let go of? Here are some ways to let go.
- Bring in a better habit to replace the poor one. For example, replacing fried food with baked food.
- Over time slowly decrease the bad habit.
- Think of consequences of saying or doing something harmful and deciding not to do it.
- Cultivate healthy lifestyle activities. When we feel more healthy and peaceful we will have less desire to engage in unhealthy activities.
Make a strong intention or firm resolve to make positive changes. Remember don’t beat yourself up for any poor habits you may have.
You can ask for help from others and pray for guidance from within.
It may mean letting go of friendships that are detrimental to your health and well-being.
How do you let go of poor habits?
How can we be happy in each moment?
Certain thoughts will bring us in or out of happiness in each moment.
What thoughts will bring us out of happiness and peace in each moment?
1. Thoughts such as I’’ll be happy when I get that new job or have $5,000 more in my bank account or find that perfect partner.
2. Uneasy or anxious thoughts about our current situation.
3. Thoughts of regret about the past.
What thoughts are bringing you out of your happiness and peace in the moment?
What thoughts will bring us into our happiness and peace in each moment?
1. Thoughts of acceptance of our current situation in life (working in a relaxed way towards improving our life won’t disturb our happiness).
2. Thoughts such repeating a mantra or affirmation.
3. Thinking loving thoughts about ourselves and others.
4. Serviceful/giving thoughts and actions.
What are the thoughts you cultivate to create happiness and peace in each moment of your life?
Responding vs Reacting
Reacting is thinking, speaking and acting in an unconscious way, a knee jerk way. It often leads to conflict, less desirable outcomes and it may cause unnecessary pain to others and ourselves.
Responding is thinking, speaking and acting in a conscious way. Responding rather than reacting helps us to maintain our peace and ease, leads to more harmonious relationships and greater success in our endeavors.
How to respond instead o reacting? 1. Pause and contemplate before speaking and acting. Try to create a win win for everyone involved.
2. Move our energy into our hearts – out of our heads. This will sweeten our responses.
3. Realize that we often don’t know what challenges or difficulties someone else may be going through. This will create more compassion for others when they present us with challenging words and actions.
4. Cultivate positive thoughts throughout our day so the mind remains in a better space. We will be less likely to react.
How do you respond instead of reacting?