Welcome to #MindsetMonday.
Abraham Maslow said ‘The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.’
One way to think about what it means to be/live in the present is to consider what it means not to be present; (a state of mind that most have become used to). To not be ‘present’ is to have our mind pulled in the past or the future…or in both directions ?
I think we can all agree that both the past and the future hold valuable information and lessons. It is therefore important to visit the past (reminisce) and the future (daydream), as this can enhance and hence serve us for current life experiences. However, when we allow our lives to be dictated by thoughts and emotions associated with past events and/or possible outcomes of the future, we seldom come to know the immediate experience; through being present and mentally clear in the moment.
While abstract thinking has contributed to improving the human condition, it has also certainly created serious problems. Research shows that stress accounts for over 60% of doctor visits. Furthermore, a considerable part of that stress is as a result of people constantly thinking of and worrying about the past and the future. We are literally “not here” most of the time. Our routine/ habit is to be off ‘in our heads’ mulling over something of the past, (usually negative), or becoming apprehensive or even fearful of the future. Just because we are used to doing something repeatedly surely doesn’t necessarily mean that it serves us well or that it serves us at all for that matter…nor is it the right way to live.
Have you ever taken note of how often your mind wonders… and by the time you ‘catch yourself’ several minutes have elapsed? For those who drive, have you ever left your home on the weekend for groceries or something else and ‘found yourself’ on the route to the office? I can still hear my mom belting out the chorus of Jerry Jackson’s ‘Wide awake in a dream’ those times she caught me ‘wondering off’ ? or her sharp ‘Girl! Look where you going or, go where you looking!” when I bumped into something (which was too big to miss), making it very obvious that I wasn’t paying attention or fully present. Hmmmm….makes me think of the day I understood why multi-tasking doesn’t necessarily serve us. Think about it; nothing gets a 100% of you, your focus/concentration, or all that you can bring to the experience or task at hand. Why? Your attention is divided. The same would apply to being physically present but mentally/emotionally someplace else!
One school of thought is that being able to remain in the present moment is one indicator that we have reconciled our relationship with the past and the undetermined future, or that we have learned to accept them in some way, shape, or form. I guess that’s a conversation for another day ?
Let us make every effort to be fully “here”. Let’s improve on our ability to be present in the moment by practicing the naked awareness of what’s going on now. Let’s cultivate the discipline of listening, engaging in real conversations and experiences. Whether it is in our professional lives or our family relationships, let’s make every effort to be fully present and fully engaged. This is both important and required for true reflection and certainly useful for a successful and healthy life.