All that is now is all that we have
Ralph Waldo Emerson said — “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”
A simpler translation is — the only real is now.
In my short but interesting search for living a meaningful life — life itself has led me to many conclusions and lessons.
I have tried substances(quick and temporary hacks), talked to different people (despite being a borderline anti-social introvert), read some books(the best way to gain knowledge), followed creative pursuits (an aspiring writer and musician), dived into the life and minds of philosophers (somehow these people had it figured out), even sought the pragmatic advice of psychologists and mental coaches.
The thought, the books, the music, the people, the theories — different paths and methods converged to a single conclusion — life is lived only in the present.
Living in present is what we know as ‘Mindfulness’.
So, today I am just going to share with you the most important lesson I have ever learned — being here and aware.
Take this is a gentle reminder about the power of ‘NOW’ — and if you are anything like me, you probably need a good reminder every once in a while.
The idea behind mindfulness is not to stop thinking about life. The concept of living mindfully is all about making aware decisions based on conscious thinking.
Being in control of your life is an illusion. At best, we can only control our actions and reactions to something that happens to us all — life.
At some point or other, all of us have felt the pulsating urge to imagine ourselves somewhere else than where we are now… somewhere good, pleasant, exciting, relaxing.
Because somewhere deep down we know life isn’t about paying our bills while commuting to the same place for majority of an year to earn a living.
We yearn for meaningful experiences.
There’s a voice in all of us that knows life isn’t a loop — it’s filled with infinite possibilities, opportunities and stories.
We go on vacations, numb our minds with substances, get hooked to mental pleasures, take sabbaticals or hibernate in our search for these meaningful moments in life.
We do all of this forgetting that these moments don’t arise from a different time or phase — they are the same as every other moment.
With time, our actions and reactions revolve around paying attention and living fully only in these ‘selected few' moments — while considering the regular moments as ‘filler time’ that we need to get to the special ones.
Can you relate to this?
The reality of life is in its entirety. There’s no way you can be selective and choose only the ‘best’ moments while ignoring the 'rest’.
The truth is — if you are not happy, satisfied, or peaceful in your present space and state — there is simply no other place or mental state that’ll make you feel otherwise.
Living in your thoughts can give you temporary satisfaction but it won’t make life any more joyous, productive or peaceful.
This is where mindfulness works wonders.
Mindfulness doesn’t ask you to do anything special — just be where you are and be more aware.
If you can be here, now — you can truly embrace the power of this moment.
With a little more mindfulness — you can get so much more out of life.
But how do you do that?
Is there a way to cultivate mindfulness in life as we strive to get more meaning out of it?
People often associate mindfulness with some philosophical perspective shift that only some mystics, gurus or greats can achieve.
That’s not true.
What’s true is — anyone can be awake.
Being awake is simply being more attentive, observant and mindful wherever you are (and whatever you are doing).
You don’t have to change yourself — be wherever you are and do whatever you do with mindfulness. Just be there, now.
To cultivate mindfulness — the first step is to be aware of whatever that’s going on right now.
Just try being more focused, more aware, more mindful in the present moment. A little more will go a long way.
Smile, Be Grateful, Deep Breathe, Meditate, Connect with Nature, Listen Attentively…these are some easy ways to being more mindful everyday.
Take it as an exercise — the more you do, the better you get at it.
The best way to capture the beauty of moments is to pay attention to them.
The average person has about 60,000 thoughts in their head everyday — now imagine the power of these thoughts over a week, month, year and decade!
What if you practice mindfulness even for 1 minute everyday — you have 365 more meaningful moments of life.
Wouldn’t it be amazing? More moments of being more than you are.
If you can do that — life will reward you with some truly beautiful, peaceful and joyful moments that don’t need any external stimuli, substances or scenarios to exist.
Every moment demands you to be mindful to get the most out of it — what are you waiting for?
As a man in search for meaning — trust me when I say this —mindful living is the hardest mountain to climb everyday, but the view (and feeling)is definitely worth it.
I haven’t reached the top yet, but I am on my way (and so can you) by being a little more present, awake and mindful now.
You don’t have to be a saint or a recluse to live fully. You don’t need a special skill or unique understanding — you just need to enjoy the sunset while it’s there and forget the rest!
Ending this with a line from one of my favorite song by George Harrison — “Now, Is, Be Here Now”
Will you practice mindfulness? Feel free to share your thoughts and share this post with anyone who needs a little reminder to be awake!