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Living in the moment (1)
by ayo2 « on: January 18, 2014, 01:03:26 PM »

A friend was walking in the desert when he found the
telephone to God. The setting was Burning Man, an
electronic arts and music festival for which 50,000 people
descend on Black Rock City, Nevada, for eight days of
"radical self-expression"—dancing, socializing, meditating,
and debauchery.
A phone booth in the middle of the desert with a sign that
said "Talk to God" was a surreal sight even at Burning Man.
The idea was that you picked up the phone, and God—or
someone claiming to be God—would be at the other end to
ease your pain.
So when God came on the line asking how he could help,
my friend was ready. "How can I live more in the moment?"
he asked. Too often, he felt, the beautiful moments of his
life were drowned out by a cacophony of self-
consciousness and anxiety. What could he do to hush the
buzzing of his mind?
"Breathe," replied a soothing male voice.
My friend flinched at the tired new-age mantra, then
reminded himself to keep an open mind. When God talks,
you listen.

Whenever you feel anxious about your future or your past,
just breathe," continued God. "Try it with me a few times
right now. Breathe in... breathe out." And despite himself,
my friend began to relax.
You Are Not Your Thoughts
Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present
slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and
unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our
lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about
what's past. "We're living in a world that contributes in a
major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration,
distraction, decoherence," says Buddhist scholar B. Alan
Wallace. We're always doing something, and we allow little
time to practice stillness and calm.
When we're at work, we fantasize about being on vacation;
on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our
desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret
about what may or may not happen in the future. We don't
appreciate the living present because our "monkey minds,"
as Buddhists call them, vault from thought to thought like
monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
Most of us don't undertake our thoughts in awareness.
Rather, our thoughts control us. "Ordinary thoughts course
through our mind like a deafening waterfall," writes Jon
Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced
meditation into mainstream medicine. In order to feel more
in control of our minds and our lives, to find the sense of
balance that eludes us, we need to step out of this current,
to pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, to "rest in stillness—to
stop doing and focus on just being."
We need to live more in the moment. Living in the moment—
also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open,
intentional attention on the present. When you become
mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you
become an observer of your thoughts from moment to
moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being
with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor
pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by
without living it, you awaken to experience.
Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present
bestows a host of benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress,
boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain , lowers
blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By
alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively
focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart
disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of
Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more
empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem
and are more accepting of their own weaknesses.
Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds
of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression , binge
eating , and attention problems. Mindful people can hear
negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight
less with their romantic partners and are more
accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful
couples have more satisfying relationships.
Mindfulness is at the root of Buddhism , Taoism, and many
Native-American traditions, not to mention yoga. It's why
Thoreau went to Walden Pond; it's what Emerson and
Whitman wrote about in their essays and poems.
"Everyone agrees it's important to live in the moment, but
the problem is how," says Ellen Langer, a psychologist at
Harvard and author of Mindfulness. "When people are not in
the moment, they're not there to know that they're not
there." Overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to
the present takes intentionality and practice.
Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You
can't pursue it for its benefits. That's because the
expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset,
which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to
trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to
mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox.
Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get
it. Here are a few tricks to help you along.

Source: Psychology Today

« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 01:11:42 PM by ayo2 »


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