Embrace the power of the present moment. When you consciously vow to live in the moment, you’ll notice how beautiful life really is and how amazing it is that you’re living and breathing right now.
“Every one of us already has the seed of mindfulness. The practice is to cultivate it.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The momentous occasions help shape the direction of our lives, but it’s those small moments and the myriad of decisions we make each day that ultimately define our destiny.
Rather than worrying about the past or fantasizing about the future, look at what’s right in front of you. You can only change how you live and interact with the world right now, not in the past and not in the future. Check into this time zone. Don’t let your soul drift a world away. Live for today.
I hope that one or more of these five practices will serve as a gentle reminder to live in the moment–where possibility dwells, happiness lives, and life breathes.
5 Ways to Live in the Moment
1. Listen with your eyes.
Listening–truly soaking in life through your senses–is an important element of being present. This means when you’re interacting with someone, you’re not in your head thinking about what you’ll say next or how you can add to the conversation. You’re listening for the sake of listening.
Practice absorbing the essence of this moment without the need to resist, interject, or manipulate anything about it.
If you’re talking with a friend, listen to what they’re saying by actually looking at them and hearing them. Don’t wait for your chance to talk; listen with the sole intent of hearing what they’re saying.
As you’re moving through the day, pay attention and really soak in what’s around you. Hold your gaze for two beats longer–this is a simple mindfulness practice that can be applied anytime, anywhere.
2. Pursue a passion.
In between goals is a thing called life, and this in-between stage is where curiosities are followed, passions are realized, love is found, happiness is remembered, and memories are made. The magic flows from being present and showing up.
To tap into the depth and beauty of the present moment, get in touch with your passions. Start a project that means something to you. Build something. Write. Paint. Cook. Sing. Dance. Play. Color. Keep your creativity alive, whatever that looks like for you.
This is also about achieving a state of flow. “Flow” is when you get so absorbed in a task, one that challenges your strengths just enough, that it’s the only thing on your mind. You lose track of time. Your mind stops drifting elsewhere. You are so focused on the present moment that the past and future are of no concern.
To live in the moment, to honor life, stay in the heartbeat of your creativity.
3. Meditate on the moment.
Whether good or bad, be aware of how you’re feeling and truly allow yourself to experience your emotions. You can sit in silent meditation or you can practice walking meditation. Even one minute of meditation can promote a sense of calm and oneness with the moment.
Committing to a daily meditation practice is a challenging yet worthwhile way to live a happier and more fulfilling life. If you’re new to meditation, here are twenty practical tips from Zen Habits.
4. Express gratitude.
Sarah Ban Breathnach said it beautifully: “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
Wherever you are in life, respect this part of your journey. Happiness is not a destination to arrive at but a journey to be traveled. Have awe and reverence for the blessings around you, for there are many (it’s just that they’re too often taken for granted to be noticed).
Whether at a set time of day or spontaneously throughout the day, stop to write down something positive that happened to you today. This cues your conscious mind to be on the lookout for the good things in life.
In order to appreciate the moment, you must live in the moment; on the same token, it’s much easier (and more enjoyable) to live in the moment if you’re truly grateful for it. Not every moment is a happy one, but there is always something to be grateful for.
Even if it’s just for five minutes, make a habit of turning off (or putting down, putting away, or walking away from) your devices–your phone, your tablet, your computer. Disconnect with the wonderful world wide web for a moment, and connect deeply with the moment in front of you.
You can disconnect from social media, group texts, and email inboxes without feeling like you’re missing out on life. In fact, if you start in small increments and continue with the practice, you’ll suddenly realize that you’re more in tune with life all around you.
I do this when I’m in line at the grocery store, forcing myself to practice patience and notice small details in my surroundings. I do this when I’m working and need to concentrate deeply on what I’m doing without distraction. I do this sometimes only for five minutes at a time, but when I turn my phone back on, I feel like I’m doing it with more presence and appreciation for my life.
- How will you live in the moment today?
- How are you creating happiness right now?
- What projects or passions are you pursuing?
- Who and what are you grateful for?
- Who and what are you connecting to?
Please share your own thoughts, ideas, mindfulness practices, gifts of being present, and any experiences in the comments.
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The present moment is the door to all moments. You can make this a happy life, one moment at a time.