"Now, the exposition of Yoga is being made." Yoga Sutras: Book 1, Sutra 1
now adverb 1. at the present time or moment 2. used to draw attention to a particular statement or point
The past is a memory. The future, a figment of your imagination. The only time that life exists is NOW. And yet we waste our now with regrets about the past and worries about the future. Then what happens to NOW? To your life? July is National Outdoor Month; there is even National Simplicity Day on July 12th. This guides us to be reminded of our mindfulness practice. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”. Peace is already present. Living mindfully, slowing down, and enjoying each breath is enough. But this hamster wheel that we call life often times takes over. Be reminded that YOU are in control! Allow a thought or a feeling to be just that – without creating feelings about it. Feelings are emotional reactions to our circumstances; a thought is simply an object you can focus your attention on. So be cautious that you are managing your thoughts. Be mindful. Pay attention. In a particular way. On purpose. In the present moment. Non-judgmentally. We all receive so much information all day every day: from the media, the internet, in our car, on our phone, we are SO connected! Take a little time for a sensory fast. Unplug. Go outside. We must disconnect to reconnect. Anything can be a mindfulness practice. Taking a walk, washing dishes, driving a car, reading a book drinking tea, listening to a loved one, eating a meal, breathing. Our peace does not have to be confined to a meditation practice or when we are on our mat. Mindfulness can penetrate your daily life, each minute, every hour.
Take something that you usually do mind-less-ly and do it mind-ful-ly. Have you ever driven to work and once you arrived not remembered the drive? We all have. We go on auto-pilot. We lose our NOW. Our body is present, but our mind is elsewhere. We think of this and we think of that, and it is difficult to shut it off. It is like we have a tape playing in our head that we cannot mute. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life. Instead, approach a mundane task mindfully. Do it with awareness of the experience. Be present, moment by moment, for each sensation. If the mind drifts off, do not judge yourself. Simply bring the attention back. Stay present. Focus on that one thing exclusive of everything else, and independent of the minds preferences. You know that feeling when you take the first bite of your favorite dessert? Or when your favorite song is playing? Or right before you take that putt? Access that. Get "in the zone”. Be completely absorbed by what you are doing and allow everything else to disappear. Even if it is washing dishes! Feel the experience, smell the experience, be the experience. You will get out of the experience exactly what you put in. The price of admission does not give you the experience! You must be aware and be there, completely. Not somewhere else. Not wishing things were different. But right there, right now. Now go. Take the hand of a child and invite them to sit in the grass with you. Contemplate the green grass, the little flowers, the sky, the birds. Just be here. Now.