Committing to the Present Moment

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.” ~ John Kabat-Zinn

BP; Desert Plain

I love the above quote from John Kabat-Zinn, especially because he uses the word, commit, very intentionally.  Commit has a Latin origin, meaning to join, combine; to bring together. The more modern definition of commit is to carry out, pledge, bind, or devote.  It also refers to the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, or undertaking.

Reflecting on how commitment applies to the present moment really shifted the way I thought about being present.  Think about joining and binding, bringing you together with the here & now — combining into one totality of experience — that this is all there is and this is where it’s at…where life happens.

I often think how esoteric this may seem due to the mundane and everydayness of life.  We tend to not connect with the present moment and miracles happening day-to-day.  It’s really not something we think about as days of our lives go by. I believe that many of us live the majority of our lives lost in our thoughts without even realizing it.  I go more into depth about this in a previous article, “Why You Should Think About Your Death.”

I believe that we all have different degrees of FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) when it comes to staying in the present moment. FoMO is usually associated with social media, but I think it really maps onto the present moment as well.  We all tend to get pulled into the past or future, perhaps being afraid we might forget something we’ll have to do later.  This constant thinking about what we will do later disconnects us with right now.  Sometimes the present moment is unpleasant or uncomfortable, and it becomes even more difficult to stay there.  The end result is not being fully present in the here and now.

That should be the real FoMO. Read more

We All Suffer

“It is because mankind are disposed to sympathize more entirely with our joy than with our sorrow, that we make parade of our riches, and conceal our poverty.  Nothing is so mortifying as to be obliged to expose our distress to the view of the public, and to feel, that though our situation is open to the eyes of all mankind, no mortal conceives for us the half of what we suffer.” ~ Adam Smith

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We don’t necessarily like to advertise our suffering.  We mainly see the best moments and highlight reels of people’s lives, while many of the deeper and lonelier moments are kept concealed.

The truth is, we all suffer, at the deepest levels.  Every single one of us. No one is immune to bad days.  We all have them.  

We go about our lives, pretending to have it all together — and on some days, it may even feel like we actually do.

We don’t.

We may at times fall under an illusion that we are in control.

We aren’t.

We know this deep down, as we become reminded of this hard truth at times in our lives — the times when reality comes crashing down upon you — feeling alone, and we cry…if we allow ourselves to.  We want to be strong for our loved ones, our spouses, our kids, driven by the fear of appearing weak when in fact, showing our humanity is not weakness.

I’ve spoken to many people whose pain and suffering happens to rise to the surface…unexpected, and in that moment, their loneliness revealed, despondency expressed — weeping about how alone and scared they really feel…at the deepest levels — the depths in which we rarely ever let anyone in far enough to see.  

We are like onions, having many layers that can be peeled back.  Many of us only ever get to see the top layer in most of our relationships.  There are many more layers to a person. We all have them.

We often do not have a safe space where we can reveal them. Read more

Why You Should Think About Your Death

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you will ever have.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Matterhorn-Switzerland

The inevitable death.  Your death.  The fact that all of “this” is not going to last forever. The thought of your own existence not continuing can be scary. Sound depressing? Well, contemplating your own death doesn’t necessarily have to be.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about death almost every day.  I find it interesting that the older people get, the more they seem to think about death.  On the other hand, thinking about death is almost non-existent with younger people.  I think it would greatly benefit younger generations to be more mindful of death.

Mortality salience, or realizing that your death is in fact inevitable, can give rise to a much more appreciative, fulfilling, and present life. This appreciation and fulfillment can be found with or without any consideration of religious beliefs.  In other words, your ability to appreciate life’s moments doesn’t depend on whether or not you’re religious. This is not to say that religion or a belief in the afterlife isn’t helpful, as religion is very helpful to me. There’s more to it than just religion in and of itself. A deep attention and presence is still necessary to fully appreciate the significance of what’s really going on from moment to moment.  Being mindful of death and our mortality is a catalyst for this.

Most of the time, it appears that we all casually gloss over some very significant and deeply profound moments in our lives.  Even the moments that can be categorized as mundane have just as much significance and profundity as any other moment. Sometimes, those moments don’t seem to register as important “in the moment.”  Later upon reflection, perhaps as memories, we may feel those moments were in fact significant, but we weren’t really “there” for them.  We find it hard to connect to the present moment when we are incessantly looking for happiness in the future, which never arrives. Read more