In times like the one we’re living in now, where uncertainty about global events and catastrophic forecasts trigger anxiety and depression, it’s important to remember this: the only thing that’s real is the present.
As spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says: “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.”
When we’re immersed in thoughts of the future, we live in a world that doesn’t really exist, except in our minds. When we pay too much attention to the news—to a narrative of events that might or might not happen—we end up giving away one of our biggest powers: the power of our attention. When you pay attention to the wrong things, you give your power to the wrong people or causes.
In order to keep your attention in the right place and focus on what matters most, you must keep yourself in the present moment. Everything you are and will ever be is happening in the now. You don’t need elaborate studies, complicated experiments, sophisticated planning, or any other extraordinary activity to realize this simple truth. What you’re doing right now will determine what you’ll be doing tomorrow and how the future will unfold.
How to reconnect with your “now”
The good news is that being present isn’t as complicated as you’d think. Many people believe they have to put in a lot of effort to keep their focus on what’s happening now. But each of us already knows how to do it; it’s part of our human nature. Just think back to when you were a child, when you were constantly living in the present. You need to let this inner child manifest and start living in the moment. Here are four ways to relearn how:
Extensive literature and evidence from thousands of people who have practiced meditation underscore the incredible benefits it brings. Just the act of sitting alone in silence for a few minutes a day will bring you to a more peaceful, present, and centered state.
Start simple: Set aside 10 minutes in the morning or a quiet time in the evening. During this time, close your eyes and breathe deeply. As you become more familiar with meditating, increase your time to 30 minutes a day. You won’t regret it.
- Be mindful
Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment while going about your daily activities. For example: Do you remember your last meal? How did it taste? What was the sensation in your mouth as you were eating it? How did your teeth sound as you were chewing?
I bet that you don’t remember any of it. You were probably eating while scrolling through your phone, talking with someone, or were deep in thought about something else. Next time, sit and eat your meal consciously. Take in every aspect of the experience, including the most trivial things. You’ll realize that even the simplest moments in life can be profound.
- Be silent
Silence in our modern era is undervalued. Everybody wants to be noisy and be heard. If you live in a busy city, silence may even be a luxury. But silence can be a powerful tool. To become silent requires discipline and a strong will. And it requires focused attention on the present moment.
Spend the first five minutes of your day in silence. These first minutes will determine how the rest of your day will unfold, so let them be magical. As soon as you open your eyes, sit comfortably, take a deep breath, and listen to the sounds and smells of the morning. Rest your mind and smile. A successful and productive day will follow.
- Connect with nature
Nothing can bring you closer to the present than admiring and interacting with nature. Admire and smell the flowers. Breathe in the cool, mountain air. Feel the damp soil beneath your bare feet. Every day there are thousands of opportunities to connect with nature, reconnect with yourself, and be part of nature’s universal harmony.
Staying present is the truest gift of life. Don’t let it slip away!
PAOLA KNECHT is a certified leadership, transformational, and self-development coach and author of The Success Mindset: Take Back the Leadership of Your Mind.
Learn more at my-mindpower.com.