When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is a miracle. /Osho/
Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your life deeply. /Thich Nhat Hanh/
Life in London (or pretty much anywhere in the Western world) is often about rushing. Getting from one place to another, rushing to get a job, a living space, entertainment..it never stops. People are constantly online, absorbed in a bubble, never look up or look around. And all they do really is missing out. As the great thinkers above said, life only happens in the moment. But we are spending so much time in the past , reflecting on what happened to us, or the opposite, worrying about the future and we don’t focus energy on the right now. Before we now it the right now is gone.
Yesterday I decided to challenge myself to try to spend a full day focusing on present. No whatifs, no whatwillhappens,howwasthats , just try to experience what’s right in front of me. I have to say that I choose a day when I wasn’t at work (as a teacher who works with young people who have learning difficulties that would be almost impossible).
So, I woke up in the morning and didn’t spend 30 minutes in bed scrolling on Facebook. Good start:)
I had a very beautiful morning yoga practice followed by meditation and pranayama, I just followed my instincts and interestingly I ended up just following a new flow of asanas . I liked that:) Yoga and meditation is a place where I am used to focusing on the present, although this doesn’t mean that this is not challenging. (see my previous post about The art of breathing and meditation).
Then I had my breakfast. In silence, I left my phone upstairs, so the virtual world cannot suck me into the bubble.
We did this in India during my yoga TTC, silent mornings, I remember back then some days I found it challenging..
but today I just enjoyed my breakfast (yummy, isn’t it?), rediscovering the artistic beauty of porridge and how funny a sliced up fig looks like.. the flavour was more intense, I focused on how the colours look and the different textures feel like.
After breakfast, I had to connect as I had some work to do , some emails to send but that was it.
A bit later I made my way to the swimming pool. Public transport. London. People in their bubbles. Then this thing happened: a mum got on with a 4-5 year old kid. He was happy looking around (even directly in people’s eyes!) and playing. And I realised: this is it, they know how to be in the present, they don’t spend their life constantly worrying about future and past actions. I’m not saying that from now on everybody should behave like a 5 year old, but it’s nice to sometimes look at things as one. I did this exercise once for a classful of teenagers in a psychology lesson. I brought in a bubble machine and asked them to look at the bubbles as they were little kids. the outcome was amazing, everybody(even the ones constantly looking at their phones under the desk) got involved and the usually most ignorant young man had the great idea of using the fan to create a bubble storm in the classroom.
I arrived to the swimming pool. I love water, I am a proper waterbaby( Scorpion!) , just being close to any kind of water makes me really happy, swimming in water makes me feel whole. However, as part of the be present project, swimming had an added challenge: I usually use this time to rethink things, plan lessons, develop ideas for the future etc. Many of my lesson plans and yoga class ideas was born in the pool. So this time I tried to let those ideas, concernes, reflections just float in and out of my mind like passing clouds and my 45 minute swimming session became an underwater meditative motion.( I have to admit, for most of the time I was the only one in my lane) It felt really good.
Travelling back home a walked throuh my favourite corridor at Kings Cross, I alway have a feeling that at the end of that one day I find myself in Narnia or some kind of Wonderland.. this was the first time I noticed how cleverly the little lights sit on the side and I was observing people’s facial expressions walking through it. Many of them tourist, lookig at it the first time, with a curious face what’s in the end( it is just an escalator but maybe one day..:) )
By the time I got to the afternoon, I went through standing in the queue in the post office having a conversation with a young mum about her son’s excellent shoe disappearing skills , cooking and other domestic fairy jobs.
In the evening I had a meeting bringing some possible bad news. And there was it: the whatifs, the what didIdowrongs, the whatwillhappennows will all trying to drag me away from the present. And at that present moment I was upset. So I tried to live in that moment , experience it fully without going into any further combination. And it was really hard, I kept sliding down on that road bringing more negativity. But this was only my perception, creating therories about the future that’s not even there. Finally I found my connection back to the present, and it helped me to feel calmer and focused.
Overall my be present day was a very inspiring experience, and I know that a lot of times it is necessary to factor in the future or reflect on what happened, but I think it is important to try and be just present as much as we can. We can do this through connecting to people, yoga, meditation, art, any other ways you can think of…or just simply be, experience our lives as fully as we can, and exist in that present moment before it’s gone.