Staying in the present moment is a virtuous skill that many wise individuals point to as one of the most important aspects of conscious development.
The Roman Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius writes:
“Where you to live three thousand years, or even a countless multiple of that, keep in mind that no one ever loses a life other than the one they are living, and no one ever lives a life other than the one they are losing. The longest and the shortest life, then, amount to the same, for the present moment lasts the same for all and is all anyone possess. No one can lose either the past or the future, for how can someone be deprived of what’s not theirs?” (Meditations, 2.14)
This skill seems so simple when discussed in theory; however, it couldn’t be more elusive when put into practice.
If your life is anything like mine, I’m sure you can relate to the struggle of staying “present” with the crazy amount of balls you try to keep juggling in the air.
Kids, wife, personal health, current career, future dreams and aspirations, leisure and friends. The order of importance may shift from day to day and hour to hour, but that isn’t the issue.
The part that I have found my self struggling with is placing 100% of my effort and attention into the moment where I currently reside and with the people in front of me.
Checking the business’ Instagram message box when I am playing UNO with my 6-year-old, getting lost in thought about the reps and sets of my next workout while I am working on a client’s treatment plan, pulling up my emails and begin to respond to a colleague while I am taking a break between my 4th and 5th sets of squats, and the list goes on…
In the past, I grossly undervalued the importance of staying present. At times I even boasted of my ability to multitask and deliver parts of my conscious to various pursuits at the same time. Once I gained awareness, I would then beat myself up every time I found my mind drifting.
This negative self-talk is no more productive than the drifting thoughts. It is the practice of awareness really matters. The practice of accepting where you were and coming back to the present. It is the act of coming back to the here and now were the magic lies.
Love you all,