I was walking through the Delhi airport in India when, out of nowhere, this insight hit me like a lightning bolt: The most invaluable skill you can have is present moment awareness.
Immediately, I typed that sentence into my phone before it was lost in the endless slipstream of memory. As I started to metabolize this spontaneous strike of wisdom, it began to make more and more sense.
When is it not now? When was it not now? When will it not be now?
Life is always now. The present moment is all we ever have. The past and future are only projections in our minds.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)
The Future Trap
Living in the future is a trap. You’re always looking forward to what is coming, while missing the present moment. Today you’re thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow, but you’re missing today! Then tomorrow, you’ll be missing the moment by thinking about what you’re going to do the next day. This fallacy of thinking that happiness lies somewhere in the future will leave you utterly unfulfilled.
All it takes is a bit of presence to put the magic back in life. You can still have nostalgia. You can still plan when you need to. But the key is to just be consciously aware that the now is all that exists.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)
6 Reasons Why Present Moment Awareness is the Most Invaluable Skill You Can Have
1. It helps you maximize experiences – Present moment awareness enables you to truly enjoy and appreciate everything. This has become so ridiculously apparent to me now that I’m traveling the world. I’m having such amazing experiences on a daily basis, so I have to constantly remind myself to be fully present and cherish the moment. When you’re wholeheartedly in the moment, life leaps to new levels of bliss and excitement.
2. You’re able to observe your thoughts and emotions – Instead of being a prisoner of your overthinking monkey mind and its neuroses, you’re able to objectively witness its activities when you’re present. The is the basis of mindfulness and meditation. Present moment awareness is a point of power from which any change stems from.
From a state of presence/mindfulness, you have a “higher perspective.” You’re able to use your mind as a tool, instead of being the tool. Think about it this way, would you rather use a hammer or be a hammer? As a present moment carpenter, you’ll be able to use your mind to build the life of your dreams.
3. You transcend all of the ego’s fear – The ego’s very existence is based upon fear and conflict. When you’re completely present, you transcend the ego. From this place, you’re MC Hammer to fear and all of its derivatives (they can’t touch you).
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and
not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)
4. You become infinitely more observant – When you’re present, not absorbed in looping thoughts, your powers of observation are remarkably heightened. Your senses are sharpened, you’re fully aware of everything around you and you notice the subtleties of the surrounding environment. This effect becomes especially apparent around other people. If you’re present and the other person is in their head, you will comment on things around you that they’ll be completely oblivious to. Being stuck in your head all of the time is like going through life wearing a blindfold and earplugs. Being present, in a state of heightened senses, is to feel fully alive.
Also, being aware and hyper-observant in the moment is the basis of survival. This is how all animals operate. They’re fully aware of their surroundings, alert and present; because if they’re not, death is always lurking around the corner. That’s just how important present moment awareness can be.
5. You actually listen – With present moment awareness, you truly listen. You wholeheartedly listen to other people while they’re speaking, instead of always thinking about what to say next. You fully listen to music, creating an experience, instead of thinking about what you have to do tomorrow while the song is playing. If you truly listen, you not only wholly experience the present moment, but you learn and understand so much more.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey
6. It allows you to flow with the fleetingness of life – Everything is temporary and fleeting. Being present is in harmony with the impermanent flux of existence. You’re able to spontaneously ride the wave of each moment as it comes.
You can immediately feel this too. If you’re stuck in your head, you feel discontentment, resistance, fear and rigidity. But if you’re present, you feel peaceful and joyous, coated with a subtle sense of oneness with everything. It just feels right.
A simple way to hone present moment awareness:
Remind yourself to “Be here now” as often as possible. Say it to yourself whenever you’re marinating in the past or future. Gently bring yourself back to the present moment. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes. Soon presence will be your default state and you will notice life being more vibrant and blissful than ever before.
Enjoy the moment.
– Stevie P!