” Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. And that’s a revelation for some people: to realize that your life is only ever now” Eckhart Tolle. This was something I knew all too well; but to know something is one thing and to live it, is another. So, a few years ago when I met a dear friend for lunch, not only was I reminded of what it really meant to be present. But I was also made aware of the consequences of not being present.
I can’t remember her exact words. But, just as we sat down in one of our favorite restaurants. She casually mentioned how it bothered her, whenever she’d see people scrolling through their phones while having a conversation. And even though in that moment her comment was not meant for me, but it immediately sent me down the guilt trip. I remembered how on a few occasions, I had not only let my manners go out the window and indulged in this impolite act. But, I had also become part of the majority, that seemed to have forgotten the value of real human connection. I was living yes, but not consciously and I was not the only one.
This is who we have become. Gadgets have taken over our lives. We tap and scroll through our phones while our friends and loved ones helplessly wait for us to be done. But we are never done, we go on and on until its either too late or the consequences hit us hard on the head. And even though many of us come up with excuses to defend this bad habit, does it make it right? We may not realize it, but every moment we engage in mindless behavior, we water down the quality of our interactions. We find ourselves alone, and we wonder why. We have learned to value things and our distractions over people and the results are evident in our lives. “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chödrön
We live in a fast-paced society, mindfulness doesn’t come easy for most of us. Functioning on autopilot seems so much easier. We are so tired and too stressed we say, not realizing that we are responsible for creating the chaos in our lives. We are so preoccupied with getting to our destination that our journeys become torturous. In a rush to check off the last item on our to-do list, we miss the joy that may come with performing certain tasks. What difference would it make if we took the time to fully engage in what we were doing instead of running through it? How would it feel if every task we performed made us feel really fulfilled?
We forget to listen to our bodies, until we collapse out of exhaustion. We bump into poles and each other because we have lost the connection with our surroundings. Our minds are always busy, planning the next exit and as a result our bodies suffer in the process of trying to catch up. There is so much tension and anxiety because the future is where we live. We have so much regret, sadness and unforgiveness because we cannot let go the past. Life is what happens now when we are busy planning for tomorrow. “Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.”Thích Nhất Hạnh
As I look back, am grateful that my dear friend caused that light bulb to go off in my head at that time. With that simple comment, she made me aware of how mindfulness or lack of it in played an important role not only in my interaction with others but in other areas of my life. So, a few years ago, to expand my knowledge in mindfulness. I bought a book by Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now after watching a review of it on the Oprah show. Am not an expert in mindfulness, and I don’t think I will ever be but, it is a daily practice and my awareness has been heightened.
I believe we have been blessed with the ability to live and enjoy life as fully and as beautifully as we can. We also have the responsibility for how our actions or lack of impacts those whom we live with and interact with every day. It’s time we stop functioning on auto pilot, it’s time to step outside for a minute, really breath in and breath out. Take note of the beautiful sky above, listen to music of the birds, enjoy the feeling of the wind brushing across your face. Realize you are alive and this is what life should feel like. Rejoice in the simplicity of life, open your heart and quiet your mind. Let’s get back to mindfulness and that how we’ll learn to appreciate that and those who really matter .
“It is never too late to turn on the light.” – Sharon Salzberg
Be inspired to live your best life every day.