The art of now: Six steps to liv­ing in the mo­ment

Montreal Times - - News -

Many of us have been busy run­ning around, trav­el­ling and shar­ing time with fam­ily and friends. Sounds like fun but it can also be very stress­ful. Just be­ing out of our nor­mal rou­tine, not sleep­ing in our own bed and be­ing around ex­cited and of­ten tired chil­dren can add to ten­sion felt at this time of year. Happy New Year! Now is the time for all of those res­o­lu­tions. I hope you add re­lax­ation and tak­ing care of your­self to the list.With more peo­ple do­ing our mi­cronu­tri­ent blood test and more peo­ple us­ing the Magne­sphere Ther­apy I am en­joy­ing watch­ing the ef­fects of re­lax­ation and nu­tri­ent re­plen­ish­ment when we know what we need. Get­ting to know what we need is cru­cial. Of­ten we just feel down, tired and rest­less but don’t re­ally un­der­stand why.

I am hear­ing and learn­ing more about Mind­ful­ness. Mind­ful­ness is a state of ac­tive, open at­ten­tion on the present. When you're mind­ful, you ob­serve your thoughts and feel­ings from a dis­tance, with­out judg­ing them good or bad. In­stead of let­ting your life pass you by, mind­ful­ness means liv­ing in the mo­ment and awak­en­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence. Most of us are prob­a­bly not very good at this but I think it is worth look­ing at. Be­ing aware of the present should help us rec­og­nize and deal with some of the stress and ten­sion that so af­fects our lives.

In Psy­chol­ogy To­day I found this ar­ti­cle “The Art of Now: Six Steps to Liv­ing in the Mo­ment” We live in the age of dis­trac­tion. Yet one of life's sharpest para­doxes is that your bright­est fu­ture hinges on your abil­ity to pay at­ten­tion to the present. By Jay Dixit, pub­lished on Novem­ber 01, 2008 last re­viewed on Septem­ber 20, 2013

A friend was walk­ing in the desert when he found the tele­phone to God. The set­ting was Burn­ing Man, an elec­tronic arts and mu­sic fes­ti­val for which 50,000 peo­ple de­scend on Black Rock City, Ne­vada, for eight days of "rad­i­cal self-ex­pres­sion"—danc­ing, so­cial­iz­ing, med­i­tat­ing, and de­bauch­ery.

A phone booth in the mid­dle of the desert with a sign that said "Talk to God" was a sur­real sight even at Burn­ing Man. The idea was that you picked up the phone, and God— or some­one claim­ing to be God—would be at the other end to ease your pain.When God came on the line ask­ing how he could help, my friend was ready. "How can I live more in the mo­ment?" he asked. Too of­ten, he felt, the beau­ti­ful mo­ments of his life were drowned out by a ca­coph­ony of self­con­scious­ness and anx­i­ety.What could he do to hush the buzzing of his mind? "Breathe," replied a sooth­ing male voice. My friend flinched at the tired new-age mantra, then re­minded him­self to keep an open mind. “When God talks, you lis­ten.” "When­ever you feel anx­ious about your fu­ture or your past, just breathe," con­tin­ued God. "Try it with me a few times right now. Breathe in... Breathe out." And de­spite him­self, my friend be­gan to re­lax.

I found this in­ter­est­ing and so true. It could be any­one or no one on that phone but the ad­vice is good. Just breathe…… Take the time to breathe. Life un­folds in the present but so of­ten, we let the present slip away, al­low­ing time to rush past un­ob­served and lost and squan­der­ing the pre­cious sec­onds of our lives as we worry about the fu­ture and ru­mi­nate about what's past. "We're liv­ing in a world that con­trib­utes in a ma­jor way to men­tal frag­men­ta­tion, dis­in­te­gra­tion and dis­trac­tion" says Bud­dhist scholar B. Alan Wal­lace. We're al­ways do­ing some­thing, and we al­low lit­tle time to prac­tice still­ness and calm.

When we're at work, we fan­ta­size about be­ing on va­ca­tion; on va­ca­tion, we worry about the work pil­ing up on our desks.We dwell on in­tru­sive mem­o­ries of the past or fret about what may or may not hap­pen in the fu­ture. We don't ap­pre­ci­ate the liv­ing present be­cause our "mon­key minds," as Bud­dhists call them, vault from thought to thought like mon­keys swing­ing from tree to tree. How of­ten does this hap­pen to you? The same thoughts go­ing on and on, over and over dur­ing the night like a bro­ken record we can’t turn off. We can learn how to turn that record off.

We need to live more in the mo­ment. Liv­ing in the mo­ment—also called mind­ful­ness—is a state of ac­tive, open, in­ten­tional at­ten­tion on the present. Mind­ful peo­ple are hap­pier, more ex­u­ber­ant, more em­pa­thetic, and more se­cure. They have higher self-es­teem and are more ac­cept­ing of their own weak­nesses.An­chor­ing aware­ness in the here and now re­duces the kinds of im­pul­siv­ity and re­ac­tiv­ity that un­der­lie de­pres­sion, binge eat­ing, and at­ten­tion prob­lems. Mind­ful peo­ple can hear neg­a­tive feed­back with­out feel­ing threat­ened. They fight less with their ro­man­tic part­ners and are more ac­com­mo­dat­ing and less de­fen­sive.As a re­sult, mind­ful cou­ples have more sat­is­fy­ing re­la­tion­ships.

There are many paths to mind­ful­ness—and at the core of each is a para­dox. Iron­i­cally, let­ting go of what you want is the only way to get it. In the fol­low­ing weeks I will ex­plore ideas about Mind­ful­ness and share some of the tips to be­com­ing “Mind­ful”.

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