‘Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift. That’s why it is called Present .’
These are some wise words by cartoonist Bill Keane . You have probably heard from some spiritual teacher or from psychologists (after conducting years of research) the benefits of ‘ living in the moment‘ and surely no one of us knowingly want to dwell on past or future or not want to live in the present.
Of course, it is our ‘monkey mind ‘ (as called by Buddhists) which creates all the difficulties to ” be in the present”.
Also, many of the problems arise because of the way we evolved, we always taught to focus on the future ‘make your career, make relationships, get a promotion, blah blah, etc.
Thinking about the future or the past is not a bad thing actually, we can learn or grow only about thinking about our past mistakes, we make plans only by looking at our future. But the problem arises when we become so judgemental about our thoughts
‘If I could do that in another way’, ‘ what if this will not work out, what will I do’ these kinds of lines are culprits.
‘All our fears reside in our memory‘ i remember hearing it in some seminar. Our mind is constantly is in dilemma about the future, on two opposite forces ‘Fear and hope‘
Even famous psychologists Mihai Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow strongly mention that we can get maximum happiness when we are completely involved in the work at our hand, that is being in the present.
But the question is what’s the solution?
How to keep this monkey mind in the present?
I think the following things might be helpful.
1. Become aware of your thoughts
On average, 12000 to 60000 thoughts come to our brain in a single day (imagine). If we are going to analyze each thought, we would be crazy.
Human being has a unique capability of observing own thoughts as an outsider , you can become aware of your thoughts and pick thoughts which seems useful to you ( most of the thoughts are I guess are of no use).
Don’t talk with yourself too much, become silent, and listen to your inner being. Also, Science strongly supports this fact ‘you can freeze something by constantly observing it’ known as ‘Quantum Zeno effect‘
2. You can keep a journal
This is a habit which most of the great persons (from Benjamin Franklin to Tim Ferris) used in their lifetime. The best way to track your thoughts is to write them down. Write down thoughts whenever they bother you and you will be at ease. Writing has an amazing effect on your brain. Don’t believe me, try it out.
3. Notice more
It’s very common for people to go on a vacation to a beautiful place and say ‘It’s so beautiful’, I want to live here someday’ but just think she/he is already there.
We are so trapped in our thoughts that we forget to experience, to notice things around us. It is important to use our senses more, which helps us to be in the present.
4. Observe your breathing for some time in a day
A few days back I come across an interesting article, which said ‘most of us don’t understand the value of proper breathing’. As most of us know breathing has a very important role in calming our minds.
We can become aware of breathing only by observing it for at least some minutes a day. To know more on this you can click the link below- ‘How to breathe properly’
Well, there can be several ways to handle your ‘monkey mind’. But all the ways can be summed up to one word ‘Mindfulness‘, and these little things help to become mindful. And here is a trick, don’t make mindfulness your goal, then it is again about the future. Just be at this moment as you read this post.
Another very interesting thing is, according to a survey of people who are just surviving their workweek and eagerly waiting for just weekends to come to enjoy waste almost 70% of their life.
I am sure no one wants to be in that group. Little things make a big impact on our life, therefore, we must put our heart and soul at whatever we do at that moment and for that, we must do what we enjoy to do.
What are your views on this?