Mindfulness or living in the present moment, has become a modern-day mantra – something we all know we should be doing. But what does it really mean?
For some, it is an ideal state that we relate to sages or yogis or people who have time to meditate. But for most of us, it is a skill we wish we had but right now we are pre-occupied with coping and living and making ends meet.
John Lennon, the philosophical Beatle, is quoted for saying (or perhaps singing?):
“Life is what is happening while we are busy making other plans.”
Reading these words recently, stopped me in my tracks. Isn’t this exactly what I am busy doing at the moment – constantly making plans? Plans for today, plans for tomorrow, and the future? And all the while life is busy happening around me.
We can so easily miss out on life because we are forever “elsewhere.” Paying attention to the present moment – the here and now of our daily lives – is the very last thought that enters our minds. There is simply no time for such trivialities, we reason. And without noticing, we miss out on our children’s golden moments or opportunities to really connect with our loved ones.
We confuse ‘busyness’ with ‘business’ and see our lives as an on-going challenge for survival. The past, we believe, is the school we learn from and the future is where our focus should be. We rush past the present to get to a destination that keeps evading us.
We all know that life is precious and that it can end at any moment – but we only take this knowledge seriously when friends or family die. Why do we need funerals to remind us of the true value of life, love, and relationships?
Is it not time to see the present for what the word means – a present or a gift, something that needs time to open, unpack, and start enjoying, with gratitude?