Being in the moment - it seems to be a real 'tag word' especially in mindfulness communities. But like so many other 'spiritual phrases' there seems to be a multitude of different understandings of what it means.
So, this is my current understanding of 'being in the moment'. Remember, this is simply my own viewpoint.
I used to think that to be in the moment meant that whatever you were doing had to be focused on 100%. And this is true to a degree, but I don't believe it takes the full picture of 'the moment' into account. It's easy to fall into the trap of judging yourself for being 'away with the fairies'. I used to do this a lot. But it started occurring to me, after much effort not to fall into some daydream in the shower, that this is really a judgment of what the moment should be and therefore takes you away from the moment itself.
So , perhaps it's important now to define what the moment actually is...or is it? Perhaps any definition of the moment narrows it down, except perhaps to say that it is 'pure potential'.
Now we've thought about what the moment is, we can move onto the question, "what is being in the moment?" Well the key word for me here is being. Going back to the shower example, when I was taking a shower I was feeling the water running down my back, the warmth sending tingling sensations down my spine, listening to the sound of the water droplets hitting the floor, watching the sparkling light refracting through the drops. Great right? But then a tune would arise in my head and I would start imagining the components of the tune, and how they contribute to the overall symphony, how I could play the song and any variations...Damn! Right, come on, feel the water, listen it's sound etc...
This is where we see the difference between 'being and 'doing'. With 'doing', the is an efforting to be a certain way. But with 'being' there is an allowing of whatever arises, be it inner or outer. This is the foundation for building true, non-judgemental awareness.
Of course you can still use discernment. There are unnecessary things that can arise in the mind, which take you away from the moment, such as worries about the future (to be clear, planning for the future is not necessarily 'not being in the moment' as really the future and the past blend into the present. It is still necessary to make appointments for example. But simply worrying about the future is creating a judgement on how it 'should' go, thus taking you away from the 'pure potential' of the present).
So, to conclude. The wanderings of the mind are part of the present insofar as they spontaneously arise. What is important is to stay with them in awareness (this takes a bit of practice) and to use discernment over which thoughts create judgements about the moment and which do not. Being in the moment is just that. Simply being.
My name is Richard. I love to write, and here you can find my general musings, observations and articles. Enjoy!
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