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It takes discipline to live for the here and now. The concept of living in the moment, or "mindfulness," is a central tenet of Buddhism and other spiritual traditions, but it can be difficult to master. The regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow often consume us. Summoning the discipline to live in the present may be one of the greatest challenges we face, but the ability to live for today has many rewards. The tips below can help you learn to live in the moment.
In today's fast-paced world, you may feel that unless you are doing three things at once, you are not doing enough. Driving while applying mascara, listening to your iPod and checking your smart-phone for new email may seem like efficient multi-tasking, but you may not be performing any of those tasks well. Your mind is split in too many directions to give any one thing its full attention. Pick one task at a time. Turn everything off for a few minutes a day and give your mind a chance to rest from the frantic demands technology.
Transcendental Meditation is only one of many meditation practices that you can use to train your mind to concentrate on the present. In TM, meditators use a mantra to focus their thoughts and practice twice a day for twenty minutes at a sitting. Meditation is said to help concentration, lower blood pressure and heart rate and promote overall good health.
Live In Gratitude
Look around you. In your everyday life are a thousand things to appreciate and be grateful for. Is there a tree outside your window? Pause to watch how the leaves wave in the wind. When you walk past the birdbath in your yard, stop for a moment to observe a bird enjoying a birdbath and focus on how the water beads on her back. During your morning commute, acknowledge the warmth of the sunshine through the wind. Relish your first sip of coffee and your warm quilt at night.
While doing the dishes, you probably let your mind wander. You make to-do lists or recount the day's accomplishments. The next time you stand at the sink, keep your mind on the dish in your hand. As you wash a spoon, focus only on washing the spoon. Feel the form of the utensil and the warmth of the soapy water on your hand. This type of deliberate action helps to train your mind to be present and it's in itself a form of meditation.
Listen To Your Body
Try to notice when your heart begins to pound or your palms begin to sweat. What is happening in your world that makes your body respond this way? Acknowledging the source of your physical reaction can be calming and empowering. Even if you can't put your finger on the source of your reaction, when you notice your body's response, use the opportunity to take several deep breaths. Slow, deliberate breathing will automatically help you relax and bring you into the moment.
Find a meaningful quote to place in a prominent spot. Seeing it will remind you to take a moment to pause and reflect. Consider these words from Bil Keane: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present."