I have been reading a book called “When breath becomes air” by Paul Kalanithi.I will do a detailed review when I finish it, eventually! The book itself is a memoir which is very reflective on life and purpose. It makes you wonder, what makes life worth living? It also makes you realise how unpredictable life is and the importance of savouring each moment as you never know what tomorrow will bring.
One passage that stood out to me was:
“I don’t believe in the wisdom of children, nor in the wisdom of the old, There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment”
It made me think that often I do not realise how lucky I was in the moment until I look back in time. I know I often live passively, analysing the past and over thinking that I forget to be present in the moment. On the other hand I may be counting down the minutes or hours to finish work or a task. Why wish time away when our time on earth is short and should be well spent? On the other hand you could argue that time you enjoy “wasting” is not actually wasted time.
Furthermore what is it that makes life meaningfull and worth living?Is it our job,children,relationships,pets? I like how the author of the book questions this. Neuroscience can help us understand how the brain gives an organism the capability to find meaning in the world. Whilst literature can help us understand what makes life meaningfull by providing an account of the life of someone’s mind. Another book by Jeremy Leven makes an assumption the mind is an operation of the brain. So can we train our brains so that our mind lives in the moment?
Is it that in our desperate quest for human connection we lose sight of the connections and relationships we already have? Sometimes I feel as though we get so caught up with passing exams, working etc. we lose sight of what we have right here, right now. I am not saying looking forward to the future is bad. But It was merely a thought as to how can we be mindful of the moment we are in.
If anyone has ever practiced yoga perhaps you noticed how during yoga practice at first it was hard to slow your mind down and you wanted to rush into doing crazy positions. I remember at first being very restless during yoga practice and constantly thinking about what I will do afterwards or worrying about how I could be revising rather than attempting and failing a full lotus. Yoga allows you to be more aware of your thinking. It allows you to dwell on the moment. “How do I feel right now ,right here?” It can make you feel more grounded. It helps you to recognise if you are constantly worrying about the future and teaches you how to return to the present. There are numerous benefits to this which I noticed myself such as feeling less anxious or upset. You will not notice them immediately but with regular practice I started to realise How much my life was improving.Ofcourse this was not down to just yoga but often when we take a moment to be still life around us can begin falling into place.Ofcourse I’m not saying you should not work your bum off as working hard is part of building a better future but it helps to be still at times and reflective on where you are in the present. Which is why I should take my own advice and start Yoga again ,Ha!
When you are talking to someone give them your full attention. This may be difficult at times under busy circumstances but if you are having a conversation with a friend in a relaxed atmosphere its good to put away your phone or over distractions and direct your focus to listening to them. Working in a restaurant it makes me really sad to see couples or friends sitting together on their phones. Maybe I am a bit of a hypocrite as I will not lie I do enjoy spending time browsing social media in the bath. But I guess all things in moderation.I’m not saying never use your phone around people!
I looked up on google “how to live in the moment”. One of the things that came up was to eat and live more slowly. Fair enough but that’s a bit boring! Also at times you may have to do things in a rush and that’s ok too. I personally would not want a very slow and mindfull life.Now I am contradicting myself a bit…ooh well! But imagine if at work I walked up to a customer and was like “Sorry your food is rather cold! I was savouring the moment! Can I get you any more drinks?” The point is living in the moment can also be interpreted in different ways.For some it is giving another person their undivided attention for another it is meditation.
When you have an eating disorder living in the moment can be really hard as your mind is constantly wandering off. It can be hard to keep a conversation, read a book or watch a film. Furthermore controlling your eating or weight can be a way of dealing with or “escaping”the anxieties of the present. You purge feelings. Often you feel nothing. So one may not want to live in the moment. Or if someone is going through trauma or just a tough period in their life they may not feel “savouring the moment “I guess the thing you can do is try and look for a good thing in every day.
I guess what I am trying to say is yes yo should be grateful and mindful of the moment you are in but not always is this possible or easy. When you try to control the future and everything around you then you may not enjoy the present. Letting go and living in the moment is hard but can be liberating. I think it is also important to not obsess over living in the present. It is normal as humans to be anxious of the future or regretfully of the past, just as long as it doesn’t consume you entirely.