The Craft and Importance of Being Present
It seems apropos that “I” is the 10th most commonly used word in the English language and “you” is 18th most commonly used word in the English language. This is a self-centric world. “Time” is the most commonly used noun, most likely because everyone is egotistically looking to be somewhere else in another time. If people could realize that they could stay in the moment and put “you” before “I” they would not need to be selfish to be happy. Their selflessness would create happiness naturally.
People always talk about the here and now with such emphasis and importance. However, it seems too often everyone is looking to be there and then. Are you present in the moment you are in? Life is just a collection of small moments. Too often we are trying to relive past moments or create future moments. But if everyone stayed present and conscious in the moment they are in, wouldn’t we all be happier and more connected? People seem to worry about what is going to happen next or try to get back to something they had. The best example I can think of is being at a concert. For me this is heaven, I appreciate and respect musicians and genuinely enjoy the art and how phenomenal the talent is. I’m completely and totally there, in the moment. I’ll have a frosty beer in hand, constantly spilling slightly over the edge as I dance with my hair bouncing in every direction, singing along loud and tone-deaf, cheering until my throat is raw. I look around and people in every direction are holding up their Iphones and recording the entire concert. It blows my mind! Are you there to enjoy it in that moment as it is happening? Or are you there so you can listen to it some time in the future and share it with your friends? Did you update your status and tweet during the entire concert? It seems that people have created a way to chronicle their own lives instead of live them. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Smartphones we are narrating our lives to validate them instead of enjoy them. Patience truly is a virtue and waiting is something that has become intolerable in today’s society; everyone is rushing to the next “best” thing. With the advancement of technology anything can be done instantaneously and information is accessible immediately.
A moment was originally defined as a medieval unit of time equivalent to 1.5 minutes or 1/40th of an hour. Now in modern English it is considered a short period of time, not specifying exact length. 1.5 minutes does not seem like a lot of time for one person to focus their attention. Listen… if I can do it (and I have adult ADHD), then everyone else is certainly capable. But somehow people seem unable to be present where they are and unavailable to whom they are with the majority of the time. We seem to have become such a selfish society that what we have going on is more important than the person we are with or the activity we are in attendance. Real, meaningful, and amazing moments only take place when you are completely present. Being self-serving is an innate human trait that is hard to prevent. However, if you can find a way to make the person or people you are with more important in the moments you are with them, I can guarantee it will be more satisfying.
Romantically, moments bare incredible importance. Now I’m not just talking about the first time you meet, a first kiss, or anything like that. I’m talking about deep meaningful moments that are indescribable in words. The moment your eyes meet in that deep connection and your stomach seems to get lost somewhere down near your feet. The moment someone grabs you and kisses you in a way you have never felt before. The moment your heart just melts when someone squeezes you tight. These are the moments we live for. Who doesn’t want more of these?
Can you be master of the moment? Can you let go of all the distractions and stop over processing and start living? I ask you to try just for one day. Be where you are every moment of that day. If you are with your kids, try playing with them. If you are out to dinner with friends or your significant other, be there, look at them, listen to them, enjoy their company and appreciate their presence. Don’t status update it or text your friends about it, just be master of the moment and appreciate it for yourself. Try and take the 1.5 minutes and be completely present. Now! You just let one pass you by…
15 Tips for being Master of the Moment:
- Do the task at hand (i.e. If you are eating, actually taste and enjoy the food. If you are kissing, do it with passion. If you are at the playground with your kids, go down the slide.)
- Try not to think about the past or the future.
- Set no boundaries and have no expectations.
- Limit your phone use when you are face to face with other people unless completely necessary.
- Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing other than you and your immediate company. Life isn’t a competition. Wishing you were someone else or somewhere else is not going to make you happier.
- Don’t update or report on what you are doing to anyone or on social media. Truth is nobody really cares and all you are doing is trying to validate something. If you were really in the moment you wouldn’t even be thinking about telling anyone else.
- Take each day one moment at a time.
- Don’t let bad moments hinder good future ones.
- Make the first move, be spontaneous, and inspire other people to be present.
- Don’t worry so much; you can’t change what you can’t change.
- The more selfless you are the happier you will be.
- Be who you are.