Despite some of the hype around the “Now” theorists, I think it would be weird (maybe even neurotic) to be living in ‘the now’ or ‘in-the-moment’ for every moment of any day, and for me (and I think most people) I’m happy to be on auto-pilot and allow habit to kick in throughout the day… so long as I’m aware of the impact it might have.
But there are some times and situations where I intentionally set pattern interrupts in my life to remind me to savour moments – especially those that I’m truly fortunate to experience. For example, it would be easy to not stop every morning and evening and just take for granted the amazing bay view we have from our home… but I have a little ritual I go through most mornings to stop, look, breathe and savour the view, and do the same just before I go to bed of an evening.
I think intention and awareness are very important to allow me to catch myself out-of-a-moment.
Because of my intention to be more intentionally mindful in more moments, more often, I do catch myself when my mind wanders in conversations and I quickly bring myself back into the moment (often with a sincere apology to the person I’m conversing with).
I’ve blogged about how food preparation is a mindful activity for me, and as I went for a long distance run yesterday, I was often moving from habit/auto-pilot into mindfulness, into moments of flow, and back to habit/auto-pilot.
As I watched some TV this week (something I am very selective about), I realised, at least for me, this is mostly a mindless and passive activity. Sure, it depends on what I’m watching, but mostly, I’m more often just choosing things other than watching TV.
I think there is, as Aristotle suggests a ‘mean’ or balance with mindfulness that is worth considering.
For most of us, our lives don’t allow us to be ‘in the now’ and consciously mindful in each and every moment… practically it’s just not possible for most of us (and I am in awe of those mindful meditators who report that they can… but with respect, most of us just aren’t going to find or even want to find the time to do that).
However, to aim to be more mindful, in more moments, more often sets an intention to bring our attention to moments of potential truth in our lives that will help us live more, rather than exist on a day to day basis. The goal is to be a bit more present, mindful, grateful and to savour the everyday things of life and not to miss some of the magic that surrounds us because we might have become accustomed to it.