Staying in the Moment


Staying in the moment is important for ‘peace of mind.’ I’ll explain by way of an example. My cousin’s wife suffers from paranoia: she’s always thinking that her husband is seeing another woman. Thus she follows him wherever he goes – much to his embarrassment and annoyance. One can tell from her behavior and expression that she’s not normal: she’d be hanging onto her mobile for hours and when she’s talking her eyes would roll. I feel sorry for her and for my cousin. If only someone had counseled her.

I attribute her condition to the fact that her ‘suspicious’ mind imagines events or situations that have not happened. The mind is not staying in the present; it shifts between the past and the future. Why go into the past, which is already gone? Why go into the future, which is yet to come?

This is where I find the Buddhist form of ‘breath meditation’ useful; it helps us stay in the present moment. In the face of an unpleasant situation such as an inconsiderate or rude motorist, our reaction is usually one of exasperation or anger. Instead of allowing the situation to provoke negative feelings in us, we could use the situation to calm our minds. This is what you can do: When you inhale (take a slow, deep breath), say in your mind “Breathing in, I am fully energized”; upon exhaling (slowly), say “Breathing out, I smile a happy smile.” This way, you do not lose your presence of mind, so to speak.

Surely that’s better than hurting ourselves with our own anger?

Another way of staying in the moment is by practicing Buddhist ‘walking meditation.’ Stand with your feet slightly apart, hands clasped behind your back. Your eyes are not to look at your feet as this would distract you.

Be aware as you take turns to lift each foot. As you lift your left foot, say mentally ‘Lifting…moving…stepping.’ Do it slowly, all the time be aware of the sensations of lifting your foot from the floor, slowly moving it through the air, and finally putting it down. Repeat similar motions with your right foot. Do this for about twenty to thirty minutes. Your awareness of the sensations trains your mind to be in the present moment.

Even serious Buddhist yogis practice this form of walking meditation before they sit down to meditate.

Have a peaceful mind by staying in the moment. It will remove your worries and anxieties without having to take any drugs.

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