There are people everywhere telling us to live in the moment, from Eckhart Tolle to Buddhist monks—and I am inclined to agree with them. Why worry about yesterday when it’s over? Why worry about tomorrow when the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are in right now? It makes plenty of sense, and I think if we could do it, we would all be so much happier.
All of that said, it’s also almost impossible for so many families in America—or maybe even anywhere, for all I know. Not only are we constantly having to pay for our pasts (whether via the law or via the people in our lives), which often prevent us from moving on; we also are constantly being told we must prepare for the future, whether it’s 401k plans, college savings accounts, or even burial plots! All of these things can calmly and reasonably dealt with to still allow mindfulness, I think, but we are expected to do so much these days that it still makes people crazy. Some people have high-demand jobs that require constant daily activity—from running businesses to running households. You might be planning meals or meetings or mergers; your mind is on the next day all the same.
The solution, of course, would be to stop juggling so much if you can if you want to be more mindful—but what if that’s not a good option? For me, it’s simply stopping when I feel overwhelm, or am multi-tasking too much, and slowly just listening to my own breathing. My daughter and I might stop and hold each other—she’ll say, “Mom, can we cuddle for a minute?”—or just take a few deep breaths. Sometimes that’s all we need to get us back in the moment. Scaling back—on anything from things to media consumption to daily activities—also helps, as do the tips found at the website Zen Habits.
What do you do to practice mindfulness? Is it a constant daily practice—or a constant daily struggle? Do you have any great resources or tips to share, especially to the Western world where everything seems to be demanded at the speed of light? In addition to simple self-love and self-acceptance (which would admittedly put much of the media out of business!), I think simply slowing down and savoring the moment could be one of the best things we can do to improve our way of life and the world itself.