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25 May 2012, 20:54

We are always one step away from where we are or bringing up the rear end with a few steps lingering in the past.

We are taught to plan for the future. In the process we begin to live in the future: take out insurance, dream about when we have this or that or when the kids are grownup, or our upcoming holiday, or when I get home from work tonight, etc. Do all that but when you do that be present doing that. Then when you have finished, become aware of that moment. It might be the last moment you will ever experience.

On the other hand we drag the past with us and allow the past to influence the present although the past has no direct bearing on the present situation. Let us be guided by previous experiences but also remember at this moment you are older, wiser, the season is different and most likely the parties involved have evolved or are completely different people. You have an opportunity in the present moment to create a better experience, make a better choice or live a wonderful moment.

Being totally present presents you with a totally different perspective. You are listing, looking, feeling and experiencing a simple action on a concentrated level. You are aware. Your awareness can bring matters into deeper perspective. The chances are that there will be no misunderstanding, no irresponsible assumptions, no superfluous expectations; the moment will be what it is when you stay aware and in the present.

Let’s try something right now - become fully aware of where you are at this moment in time. Start here. You are reading a comment on the internet. Use all your senses to live the moment as if it is your last. Make a note of your initial mood when you began reading the piece. Now look at the words one at a time – string them together and listen to their message. Do not scan the page. What emotions come up? How does your body feel? Are you totally focused? Are you thinking about what you are reading? What can you attain from the message? It does not matter if the content resonates with your philosophy. What matters is that you are totally present. You have cut off your surroundings to such a degree that the flashing adverts are not making an impression on your concentration. You are present with yourself and your thoughts and the comment.

Take it a little further; when you talk to someone – bring total awareness to that situation. It is amazing what little nuances you begin to notice. You experience the talker or situation as if you have never heard or seen them. Remember, where you are is the most important place you can be, now. Make the most of it. Your attention will flatter the other person – you will hear what the person is saying, you will experience the emotion the person is trying to convey. Your understanding of the message is enhanced. The moment that you are present is not wasted. You do things so much better if you are focused and present.

So many hours in a day are lost forever because we have lost our ability to focus and experience each moment with awareness. We talk without listening and we listen without hearing. When something happens we are astonished that we did not pick up on the clues that were strewn along the way and over time. Life is too precious to waste.

Awareness of nature will also allow you to quiet your mind; in return it will help you revive your energy supply, restore calmness in your soul, clear the mind of the rumble and the useless self talk. Those quiet moments you have when you are walking the dog, sitting on the verandah, looking out of the window, driving in the country are precious and even if you are not being ‘productive’ you are being. That is part of being a human being.

It is common knowledge that it is the little things that matter. Start with the little things. When you play with the dog, be with the dog. When you talk on the phone be on the phone. When you drive, be on the road. When you see a bouquet of flowers, notice the colors, the smells, and the way others look at it. When you are in a meeting, meet the others around the table and be in the moment.

Hannah Arendt: “To think and to be fully alive are the same.”

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